El Paso County Sheriff Richard D. Wiles said he wants representatives who will stand up against racism after a white man was accused of going into an El Paso shopping center with the intent to kill Hispanic people.
Twenty people were killed in the shooting rampage and another 26 injured on Saturday.
That night, Wiles released a statement on Facebook that called for representatives to combat racism.
“This Anglo man came here to kill Hispanics,” he wrote. “I’m outraged and you should be too. This entire nation should be outraged. In this day and age, with all the serious issues we face, we are still confronted with people who will kill another for the sole reason of the color of their skin.”
He wrote that he’s sick of people “jumping in front of the cameras” to offer prayers and condolences as things keep getting worse.
Within 24 hours of the El Paso shooting, nine people were killed in a mass shooting in Ohio.
“It’s time to rise up and hold our representatives accountable at all levels,” Wiles wrote. “I want representatives who will stand up against racism. Who will stand up and support the diversity of our nation and our state. Who will stand up for a strong criminal justice system that holds criminals responsible and keeps violent individuals locked up and off our streets. Who support robust community mental health services. Who support keeping guns out of the hands of people who are just waiting for an opportunity to kill others.”
This isn’t the first time Wiles has spoken up for El Paso on a national stage.
During the 2019 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump spoke about El Paso and claimed the city had extremely high rates of violent crime before a border wall was erected and that crime rates lowered after the wall went up.
Wiles, who had previously served as the chief of police, told KFOX 14 at the time that he was “upset to hear the President’s remarks.”
“It is sad to hear President Trump state falsehoods about El Paso, Texas in an attempt to justify the building of a 2,000-mile wall,” Wiles told the news station. “The facts are clear. While it is true that El Paso is one of the safest cities in the nation, it has never been ‘...considered one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities.’ And, El Paso was a safe city long before any wall was built. President Trump continues to give a false narrative about a great city that truly represents what this great Nation is all about.”
Three years before the border fence was erected, El Paso was ranked one of the safest cities for its population size, according to The Washington post.
When compared to cities with similarly-sized populations, El Paso’s violent crime rate consistently fell well below locales such as Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, and Memphis, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics data.
Authorities were investigating the possibility the El Paso shooting was a hate crime, working to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly beforehand was written by the Allen man arrested in the attack.
Records show the accused shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, had at one point lived in Allen, about 30 miles north of Dallas.
Law enforcement agents went to the address on Saturday and left by Sunday morning.
Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach, who represents the Allen area, tweeted a statement, saying in part: “I have been apprised that the shooter, Patrick Crusius, a 2017 graduate of Plano Senior High School, resided in Allen. As State Representative for this area, I am communicating directly with local law enforcement, Plano ISD leaders & fellow state officials to ensure we are responding appropriately and offering any and all assistance and aid to our friends in El Paso.”
Federal sources told CNN that investigators are reviewing an online posting, believed to be written by Crusius days before the shooting, that may shed light on the gunman’s motive.
The posting is being investigated by authorities, but they haven’t confirmed it was written by the suspect. The manifesto refers to an attack in “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” and “defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement.”