Over the weekend, the United States experienced two mass shootings that left at least 31 people dead and at least 53 people were injured. The end of the weekend marked 255 verified and reported mass shootings in the US this year alone.
On August 3, a gunman entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, nearby Cielo Vista Mall, killing 22 people and injuring two dozen others, ABC News reported. El Paso Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Robert Gomez told reporters during a news conference the store was “at capacity” at the time of the shooting, with 3,000 shoppers and 100 employees inside the store, according to USA Today. El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen called the scene of the shooting “horrific.”
“When I first got to this job, I never knew there was an odor to blood, but there is… It will leave an impression that you’ll never forget,” Allen said, according to ABC News.
Patrick Crusius, 21, from Dallas, was taken into custody as the shooting suspect. The 21-year-old white supremacist was arrested on Saturday after approaching police unarmed when they arrived at the Walmart. He has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond.
The 21-year-old white supremacist wanted to stop a “Hispanic Invasion of Texas,” according to a manifesto that police believe the suspect wrote. Authorities say the racist, anti-immigrant “manifesto” was titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” published on 8chan, an online message board. The 2,300-word document is riddled with hate-filled language targeting Latinos, stating that he opposes “race-mixing” and wants Latinos to leave the United States.
The US Attorney for the Western District of Texas, John Bash, told reporters that prosecutors were investigating Crusius “with a view towards bringing federal hate crime charges …and federal firearms charges which carry a penalty of death.”
“We are also treating this as a domestic terrorism case,” Bash said, according to NBC News. “This meets it and appears to be designed to intimidate a civilian population, to say the least. We’re treating it as a domestic terrorism case and we’re going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is to deliver swift and certain justice.”
In less than 24 hours, another shooting took place in Dayton, Ohio on August 4. Police said they responded to the shooting after 1 a.m. EST outside of Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton, according to NBC News.
The suspected shooter, who was identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts, reportedly killed 9 people, including his 22-year-old sister, Megan Betts, and injured 27 others during the attack. Police said he wore body armor and carrying multiple rounds of ammunition. The 24-year-old was shot and killed by police a minute after the attack began. The shooter’s motive still remains unclear.
After the back to back mass shootings, politicians have spoken out, often giving their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their loved ones. On August 5, President Donald Trump condemned white supremacy but did not propose enacting any new gun laws following the shootings.
“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed with racist hate,” Trump said during his remarks on Monday, according to The Hill. “In one voice, our nation must condemn bigotry, hatred and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
Here are some ways to help the victims and their loved ones following the shootings:
- El Paso Shooting Victims Fund: The El Paso Community Foundation launched a fundraiser to raise money for the victims’ families following the tragic shooting. “The foundation will waive all administrative fees, and pay all credit card fees associated with this fund. We are working with the County of El Paso and the City of El Paso to try to help in any way we can,” the fundraiser states.
- El Paso Victims Relief Fund by Paso Del Norte: The local community foundation has also created a fundraiser to help raise money for the families affected by the shooting.
- Vitalant El Paso: The blood donating organization is asking on their Facebook page that those who want to donate blood make an appointment over the next few weeks. Ridesharing app Lyft is also offering free rides to blood donation centers in an effort to help those affected by the shootings.
- The Dayton Foundation: The Dayton Foundation has created the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund in an effort to help those affected by Sunday’s shooting. “We awoke on Sunday, August 4 to the terrible news about the Oregon District shooting. El Paso yesterday and Dayton today,” the website reads. “Our hearts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims as well as our entire region, and we are working with the City of Dayton to help in any way that we can.”
- Give a tip: The Dayton Police Department tweeted on Sunday asking anyone who witnessed the shooting or has information to call its hotlines at 937-333-COPS or 937-225-6217.
Other ways to help
- Call your local Congress member: Take a moment to call your member of Congress and have your voice heard about the importance of gun control. Click here to find out more about how to do that.
- Get involved: Groups like Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action have events and protests to demand gun control. To get involved, click here.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.