Editor’s note: we had originally planned on publishing an in-depth analysis of the Barrio Azteca gang in today’s edition. But due to the shooting yesterday and the possibility that it may have been gang related, we have decided to delay our article until next week. In the meantime, we gathered the latest information about yesterday’s shooting.
Yesterday, at about 5:00 pm a shooting was reported at Cielo Vista Mall. According to a news report by Julián Aguilar and Aaron Montes via Texas Public Radio, at least one individual is dead and three others are injured. One suspect was apprehended “minutes after the shooting” by an off-duty police officer working at the mall.
According to Interim Police Chief Peter Pacillas, arriving officers found one victim dead upon their arrival. According to the El Paso Times, the shooting happened at around 5:05 pm and the unnamed off-duty police officer had apprehended the first suspect by 5:08 pm. The off-duty officer did not fire his weapon, according to several reports.
Later, a second individual was taken into custody, according to various news reports.
The FBI Asking For Pictures
The FBI has setup a website where witnesses to the shootings can upload pictures and videos of the incident to help in the investigation. Click here to connect to the FBI website.
If you have pictures or video of the incident, even if not directly of the shooting, submit them to the FBI. The evidence collected will help determine the motive(s) for the shooting and could lead to the convictions of those responsible.
El Paso officials have announced that there is no longer any public danger.
Motive Remains Unknown
No motive has been established by law enforcement for the shooting. However, there is speculation on social media that it was a gang related incident. This has not been confirmed by police.
The victims and the two in custody are all males, leading some to suggest that the incident involved gang activity. No details like the age of the victims or what transpired before the shooting are not yet available. With the lack of information, it is not possible to draw any conclusions, including gang activity. This is also true for any suggestion that this event was drug-related.
The lack of information has also led to speculation that this is somehow connected to the 2019 Walmart Massacre.
The 2019 Walmart Massacre
Almost every news report included reporting of the 2019 Walmart massacre that left 23 people dead. The motive for the Walmart murders was the targeting of Mexicans by Patrick Crusius, who pleaded guilty last week to federal charges, including hate crimes. Crusius is expected to be sentenced to multiple life sentences later this year. Other than the closeness of Cielo Vista Mall and the Walmart where the murders took place in 2019, a connection with supremacist ideology of targeted killings in the latest gun incident has not been established.
Making It Political
Texas governor Greg Abbott issued a statement via Twitter yesterday. Abbott posted that he “spoke to Mayor Leeser about the shooting tonight in El Paso.” Abbott added that he “offered the full support of the State of Texas, including the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Division of Emergency Management to help the city of El Paso respond to this tragic event.”
Twitter users almost immediately responded by turning the event into a political gun debate issue, with gun advocates and opponents arguing in tweets the merits of gun rights in America.
According to the El Paso Times, Veronica Escobar responded to Abbott’s tweet with “How about gun violence prevention legislation for our community’s security? You promised you would take action after the August 3rd shooting and you’ve done nothing but loosen gun laws. The legislation is in session. Be a man of your word for once and do something!”
As no motive has been established and because the details of those involved in the incident is unknown it is impossible, at this point, to draw any conclusions on whether any gun legislation would have stopped yesterday’s shooting.
Send Us Your Information
If you have any information or media about what transpired yesterday we ask that you send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +1 407 809 5025.
This is a developing story and El Paso News will provide updates as they become available. Our originally scheduled article on the Barrio Azteca will be published next week.