At his arraignment Thursday, Crusius denied responsibility for the deaths of 22 people and injuring of 25 others in an August 3 shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso. He was indicted last month on capital murder charges, which is punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
The city sits on the US-Mexico border and has a sizable Mexican and Mexican-American population, and many of the victims of the shooting were Mexican.
EL PASO WALMART MASSACRE: Alleged gunman in the Walmart rampage just pleaded ‘not guilty’ in the Aug 3rd shooting that killed 22 people. After the shooting, police say Patrick Crusius told them he “wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible.” #elpaso pic.twitter.com/ME6eDYEcpB— Marcus Moore (@marcusmoore) October 10, 2019
After being apprehended by Texas police following the shooting, Crusius told them had specifically targeted Mexicans in the massacre, Sputnik reported at the time.
The shooting, which was performed with an AK-47 assault rifle reportedly of Romanian origin, reignited debate in the US about gun control and the causes of such grisly acts, as well as whether the massacres, most often performed by white men, should be classified as terrorist acts.