AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Texas man accused of deliberately targeting Mexicans in a shooting spree that killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart store last year will be charged later Thursday with hate crimes, a source with direct knowledge of the case said.
Patrick Crusius, 21, the suspected shooter, is already facing a capital murder trial and has pled not guilty.
The hate crime charges he will now face will be announced by investigators in Texas on Thursday evening, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak with the media.
Crusius was indicted last year for the August shooting and has pled not guilty in his capital murder trial in a state court. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
He is accused of driving 11 hours to El Paso from his hometown of Allen, near Dallas, on Aug. 3 and firing at shoppers with an AK-47 rifle inside the Walmart store. He surrendered to officers who confronted him outside.
Crusius confessed while surrendering and told police he was targeting Mexicans, according to an El Paso police affidavit released days after the shooting. Most of those killed were Latinos.
A manifesto believed to have posted online by Crusius on 8chan, a message board often used by extremists, described called the Walmart attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Austin and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum)