Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old accused of carrying out the August 3 mass shooting that targeted Hispanics, is said to have legally obtained his WASR-10, a semi-automatic version of the Romanian military’s AK-47, from a local gun dealer after purchasing the weapon from Romania, according to a report from The Texas Tribune.
Citing a report from the Texas Department of Safety, the outlet reported Wednesday that the suspect also claimed to have purchased around 1,000 rounds of ammunition for his assault rifle from Russia.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen told reporters on August 4 that the suspect had legally purchased the weapon, but provided no further information on the store. The Tribune now reports that Crusius said “Gun Masters,” in the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas, was the gun shop that acted as a middleman for the purchase.
However, a quick search of area gun stores only turns up a “Gunmaster Inc.” of neighboring Plano, Texas, and when contacted by The Tribune concerning the matter, gunsmith Brian Park was allegedly unaware that his place of employment was tied to the alleged shooter.
With gun control conversations around the US focusing on background checks for domestic purchases in order to cut down on potential shooters’ access to firearms, it's worth noting that the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conduct stricter screenings for overseas purchases.
Despite the additional federal background check, many Americans turn to foreign firearms for their lower prices. In the case of Romania, an annual Arms Trade Treaty report notes a total of 9,000 semi-automatic rifles were exported to the US in 2018.
While ammunition can be delivered to one’s front door, actual guns have to be picked up in person through a licensed US firearm vendor, according to ATF policy.
The Texas Department of Safety report also says that Crusius, who remains in custody without bond and has been separated from other inmates, told authorities that he “was surprised no one challenged him or shot him” during the incident. Even after police arrived, the alleged shooter was arrested without incident or harm.
The suspect has been placed on suicide watch at least twice, according to the Associated Press.
Since the El Paso massacre, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has moved to form a Domestic Terrorism Task Force that is responsible for analyzing and providing “advice on strategies to maximize law enforcement’s ability to protect against acts of domestic terrorism.”