Gunman who killed 23 at Texas Walmart sentenced to 90 life terms

BREAKING NEWS: Gunman who shot dead 23 people in racist attack at El Paso Walmart is sentenced to NINETY life terms – but could still face the death penalty

  • Patrick Crusius, 24, was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences, but may still face the death penalty 
  • In 2019, police say Crusius drove more than 700 miles to target Hispanics at a Walmart with an AK-style rifle 
  • The gunman pleaded guilty in court in February, after federal prosecutors took the death penalty off the table – state prosecutors may try to use it in state court

A gunman who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in a Texas was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences but could still face more punishment, including the death penalty.

Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges for the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso. It is one of America’s largest ever hate crime cases.

Police say Crusius drove more than 700 miles from his home near Dallas to target Hispanics with an AK-style rifle. 

Moments before the attack began, Crusius posted a racist screed online that warned of a Hispanic ‘invasion’ of Texas.

Patrick Crusius , 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, making it one of the America’s largest hate crime cases. 

Paul Jamrowski, father of Jordan Anchondo and father in-law of Andre Anchondo, who both died in the El Paso Walmart mass shooting, breaks down in tears while speaking to the media outside the federal court in El Paso, Texas

Crusius pleaded guilty in February after federal prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. 

But Texas prosecutors have said they will try to put Crusius on death row when he stands trial in state court. That trial date has not yet been set, and Crusius entered a not guilty plea to the charge of capital murder.

U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama’s sentencing followed two days of impact statements from relatives of the victims. 

In addition those who perished, more than two dozen people were injured and numerous others were traumatized by the rampage.

One by one, family members used their first opportunity since the shooting to directly address Crusius, describing the holes in their lives left by their dead loved ones.

Bertha Benavides´ husband of 34 years, Arturo, was among those killed.

‘You left children without their parents, you left spouses without their spouses, and we still need them,’ she told Crusius.

During the victims´ testimony, Crusius occasionally shifted in his chair, but showed little visible emotion.

The attack was the deadliest of a dozen mass shootings in the US linked to hate crimes since 2006, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.

This CCTV image courtesy of KTSM 9 News Channel, shows the gunman identified as Patrick Crusius, 24, entering the Cielo Vista Walmart store in El Paso on August 3, 2019. – The 21-year-old Texan who killed 23 people in a racist rampage

Crusius pleaded guilty in February, when federal prosecutors agreed to take the death penalty off the table

People gather at a make shift memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, 06 August 2019

Dean and Hilda Reckard, brother and sister-in-law of Margie Reckard, who died in the Walmart mass shooting, exit the federal court at the end of the second day of the sentencing hearing for perpetrator Patrick Crusius in El Paso, Texas, Thursday, July 6, 2023

Francisco Rodriguez, left, wearing a T-shirt with an image of his son Javier Rodriguez, who was killed in the Walmart mass shooting leaves the federal court in El Paso, Texas, Thursday, July 6, 2023

Prior to the massacre, Crusius had appeared consumed by the ongoing debate over illegal immigration. 

His social media presence included the use of the hashtag #BuildtheWall, as well as posts that praised then-President Donald Trump’s hardline border policies.

He went further in the rant he posted just before the attack, sounding warnings that Hispanics were going to take over the government and economy.

As the sentencing phase got underway, some advocates for immigrant rights made new appeals for politicians to soften their rhetoric on immigration.

Republicans, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, have pushed for more aggressive actions to quell the record-setting flow of illegal immigrants across the southern US border.

Amaris Vega’s aunt was killed in the attack and her mother narrowly survived a massive wound to her chest. In court, Vega railed at Crusius´ ‘pathetic, sorry manifesto’ that promised to rid Texas of Hispanics.

‘But guess what? You didn’t. You failed,’ she told him. ‘We are still here and we are not going anywhere. And for four years you have been stuck in a city full of Hispanics. … So let that sink in.’

The people who were killed ranged in age from a 15-year-old high school athlete to several elderly grandparents. 

They included immigrants, a retired city bus driver, teachers, a former iron worker, and several Mexican nationals who had crossed the US border on routine shopping trips.

Three Walmart employees pause while visiting the make shift memorial after the mass shooting that happened at a Walmart in El Paso

Two teenage girls recounted their narrow escape from Crusius´ death campaign as they participated in a fundraiser for their youth soccer team outside the store.

Parents were wounded and their soccer coach, Guillermo Garcia, died months later from injuries in the attack.

Both teenagers said they still are haunted by their fear of another shooting when they are in public venues.

Another teenage girl, wearing an ‘El Paso Strong’ t-shirt, told the court: ‘I used to be a happy, normal teenager, until a coward chose to use violence against the innocent. I’m no longer as happy as I used to be.’ 

‘He was shot at close range by a coward and there was his innocent blood, everywhere,’ said Kathleen Johnson, whose husband David was among the victims. ‘I don´t know when I´ll be the same … The pain you have caused is indescribable.’
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