U.S. officials consider death penalty for El Paso suspect, investigate as domestic terrorism

National/World News

A sign is posted near the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart which left at least 20 people dead on August 4, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. A 21-year-old male suspect, identified as Patrick Crusius from a Dallas suburb, surrendered to police at the scene. At least 26 people were wounded in the shooting. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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EL PASO, Texas — A Justice Department official said Sunday the federal government is treating the El Paso shooting that killed 20 people as a domestic terrorist case.

U.S. Attorney John Bash said at a news conference in El Paso that the federal government is also investigating the attack at a shopping plaza with a view toward bringing federal hate crime charges.

Authorities have been working to confirm whether an anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly before the attack was written by the suspected gunman, a 21-year-old man.

El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza told reporters that Texas also plans to seek the death penalty.

El Paso police Chief Greg Allen said “we have to attribute that manifesto directly to him.”

The document posted online expressed concern that an influx of Hispanics into the United States will replace aging white voters, potentially turning Texas blue in elections and swinging the White House to the Democrats.

When asked whether the shooting was a hate crime, Allen said “it’s beginning to look more solidly like that is the case.”

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