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Beto O’Rourke Calls El Paso ‘Strongest Place in the World’ as Stars React to Tragic Shooting

At least 18 people have been killed and 23 people were injured, according to multiple reports

Many people, including celebrities and politicians, are expressing their outrage and condolences following the horrific shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday.

At least 18 people have been killed in a mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Mall, law enforcement sources told NBC, ABC and CBS. At least 23 people were injured, CNN reports, citing spokespeople for two area hospitals.

The store was reportedly at capacity during the busy back-to-school shopping season, with as many as 3,000 people inside.

El Paso native Beto O’Rourke, who is a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman, held back tears as he was visibly shaken upon learning of the horrific tragedy.

“I’m thinking about El Paso, I want you to be thinking about El Paso as well,” O’Rourke told reporters at a labor union forum in Las Vegas, adding that the shooting dispels “any illusion that we had that progress is inevitable or that the change that we need is going to come of its own accord.”

O’Rourke continued, “There is no luxury in this democracy of sitting this one out, whether it is gun violence, whether it is many of the issues we discuss today. It is on every single one of us to make this right.”

A few hours later, from the airport, O’Rourke told followers: “El Paso is one of the strongest places in the world — and if there were ever a moment to be strong, it’s this one.”

Deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas

Shooting suspect is talking to investigators
El Paso Police Sgt. Robert Gomez told reporters during a media briefing Saturday night the suspected shooter was speaking to investigators.

“His motives and what transpired are being investigated,”Gomez said.

He has not been formerly charged, Gomez said.

“This is the most traumatic scene that I’ve been close to and I can tell you that the investigators are doing their best to complete this investigation proper with the respect and dignity the victims deserve, but it is tough to see this type of heinous crime occur in your community,” Gomez said.

O’Rourke calls President Trump a racist, blames shootings on his rhetoric and tweets
A reporter asked Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native, the following question during an interview Saturday:

“Regarding the manifesto and everything that was in it, fears about Hispanic immigration and all that, does any of this fall at the feet of President Donald Trump and his rhetoric that’s been growing over the last couple weeks and his alleged racist tweets and other rhetoric?”

O’Rourke said, “Yes.”

“We’ve had a rise in hate crimes every single one of the last three years, during an administration where you have a president who’s called Mexicans rapists and criminals. Though Mexican immigrants commit crimes at a far lower rate than those born here in the country, he has tried to make us afraid of them, to some real effect and consequence, attempting to ban all Muslims from this country. The day he signed that executive order the mosque in Victoria, Texas, was burned to the ground. Those chants that we heard in Greenville, North Carolina, ‘send her back,’ talking about our fellow American citizens, duly elected to represent their constituents in the congress who happen to be women of color. He is a racist and he stokes racism in this country, and it does not just offend our sensibilities. It fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”

20 people were killed in the shooting.
EL PASO — A gunman who opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso on Saturday killed 20 people, according to Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, and injured 26 others.

The police said that one suspect, a white male in his 20s from Allen, Tex., was in custody, and that the gunman had fired an A.K.-47-style rifle into a crowded Walmart store, sending panicked shoppers fleeing for their lives. Officials said the gunman had surrendered to the police.

Several officials identified the gunman as Patrick Crusius, 21.

The gunfire on Saturday in El Paso began a few minutes before 11 a.m., in a popular commercial district near Cielo Vista Mall with scores of restaurants and stores that are often crowded on the weekends. The Walmart, near Hawkins Boulevard and Gateway Boulevard West a short distance from the mall, was packed at the time.

Officials are exploring capital murder charges.
Chief Greg Allen of the El Paso Police Department said officials were exploring potential capital murder charges for the suspect.

The F.B.I. is currently reviewing evidence to determine whether to move forward with federal charges, but Emmerson Buie Jr., the special agent in charge, said that the F.B.I. had not determined whether the shooting was a hate crime, another federal crime or an act of domestic terrorism. Currently the case is a state murder investigation.

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