Texas police report ‘multiple deaths’ in El Paso mall shooting
Texas police on Saturday said they had “multi reports” of multiple shooters in the Cielo Vista commercial district of the city on the outskirts of El Paso city.
At least two officials – the mayor’s chief of staff Olivia Zepeda and police spokesman Enrique Carillo – told reporters “multiple people were killed” in the shooting.
Carrillo told reporters later on Saturday that the attack had ended.
“We have between 15 and 20 casualties, we don’t know the number of fatalities,” Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick told Fox News network.
“There are three suspects in custody,” Mayor Dee Margo told CNN media network.
KTSM, a local NBC affiliate, said 18 people had been shot but did not say how bad the injuries were or if any were dead. It gave no source for this toll.
The FBI office in El Paso responded to the incident, according to CNN.
The White House said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the shooting and has spoken to Attorney General William Barr and Governor Greg Abbott.
Scene is still Active. We have multi reports of multiple shooters. Please avoid area police conducting search of a very large area. Media staging will be given when area is secure.
— EL PASO POLICE DEPT (@EPPOLICE) August 3, 2019
Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from Washington, DC, said the El Paso mayor confirmed multiple fatalities.
“We are told that 18 people have been taken to hospital with injuries ranging from minor to critical. It’s thought the dead are among those 18,” he said.
A witness who gave her name as Vanessa said she had just pulled into the car park of the Walmart and “all of a sudden you heard what sounded like fireworks, really loud fireworks”.
“You could hear the pops, one right after another and at that point as I was turning, I saw a lady, seemed she was coming out of Walmart, headed to her car. She had her groceries in her cart and I saw her just fall,” this witness told Fox News.
There were reports of nearby businesses being under lockdown due to the shooting incident.
Presidential candidate and former US Representative Beto O’Rourke said he is distraught by the shooting in his hometown of El Paso.
An emotional O’Rourke told reporters on Saturday in Las Vegas that he had spoken by phone to El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, the city’s sheriff and US Representative Veronica Escobar.
O’Rourke said he planned to return home immediately to be with his family. He asked “for everyone’s strength for El Paso right now. Everyone’s resolve to make sure that this does not continue to happen in this country”.
On his part, Mayor Margo expressed his sadness for the victims and gratitude to the first responders in his Twitter statement.
So did Escobar, saying she was “utterly heartbroken” by the news.
Utterly heartbroken by the developing news in El Paso. Monitoring the situation and in communication with our law enforcement. Please stay safe.
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) August 3, 2019
El Paso in West Texas, which has about 680,000 residents, sits across the border from Juarez, Mexico.
It has been a particularly bad week for gun violence in the US. Two people died and a police officer was wounded on Tuesday at a Walmart store in Mississippi.
Last Sunday, a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at a food festival in northern California, killing three, including two children.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies
Read the full article at: aljazeera.com