El Paso mass shooting suspect could face death penalty, hate crime charges

EL PASO, Texas – The Justice Department is seriously weighing federal hate crime charges against the El Paso shooting suspect that would carry the potential for a sentence of the death penalty.

That’s according to a person familiar with the department’s decision making process, who was not authorized to speak on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.

A gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in an El Paso shopping area packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school season, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured, police said. Law enforcement officials who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity identified the suspect as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.

A hospital official in El Paso says at least three victims of a mass shooting at a shopping area that left 20 people dead remain in critical condition.

Dr. Stephen Flaherty said Sunday that a total of 11 victims were taken to Del Sol Medical Center. They ranged in age from 35 to 82 years old. More than two dozen people in all were injured in Saturday’s shooting, some of whom were treated elsewhere in the Texas border city.

Flaherty told reporters that “a number of the patients” being treated at Del Sol will need to return to the operating room, and potentially multiple times.

Jail records show that the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius, has been booked on capital murder charges.

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