Patrick Crusius, who is accused of killing more than 20 people and injuring two dozen others in an August 2019 rampage, has been charged with federal hate crimes.
The 21-year-old allegedly targeted Mexicans at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. He has been charged with 90 counts under hate crime and firearm laws. The authorities said his actions were aimed at scaring Mexicans into leaving the United States.
Crusius, a resident of Allen, Texas, is looking at the death penalty on a capital murder charge. He entered a plea of not guilty.
The victims included eight Mexicans, and the indictment accuses Crusius of going after people because of their national origin, whether actual or perceived.
The Walmart store where the shooting took place is popular with shoppers from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico which is on the other side of the Rio Grande from El Paso.
Crusius’ lawyer, David Lane, said he hoped federal prosecutors wouldn’t seek his client’s execution.
The federal grand jury found that Crusius’ alleged crimes followed considerable planning and premeditation.
The indictment said he bought a rifle and 1,000 rounds of ammunition more than six weeks before he left a Dallas suburban neighborhood and drove to El Paso.
The federal indictment comes as the city of El Paso marked six months since the shooting. Crusius was indicted last fall on a capital murder charge that could also attract a death sentence.
He has been held without bond since the shooting and is kept away from other prisoners. He was on suicide watch for at least two months following the shooting.
The incident came in the midst of a political battle over the treatment of migrants at the US-Mexico border.
If you’re facing criminal charges including those at the federal level, reach out to a Houston criminal defense lawyer for advice and representation.