The family of accused El Paso mass shooter Patrick Crusius has released a statement that says he was raised to love and accept others.
“Patrick’s actions were apparently influenced and informed by people we do not know, and from ideas and beliefs we do not accept or condone,” the statement said. “He was raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect, and tolerance — rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice, hatred, and violence.
“We also know that the destruction Patrick did is not limited to the victims and their families. It touches the entire El Paso and Ciudad Juárez communities, the state of Texas and this country.
“The selflessness and devotion to total strangers in the face of indescribable suffering is something that we deeply respect and admire.”
Authorities are seeking federal domestic terrorism charges against 21-year-old Patrick Crusius and will request the death penalty.
They are investigating the possibility the shooting was a hate crime, and working to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly beforehand was written by the man arrested in the attack. Authorities have said that Crusius specifically targeted Hispanic people when he walked into the Walmart and opened fire.
Twenty-two people were killed and another 25 injured, including children.
In the manifesto, the author, believed to be Crusius, said the attack was “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
San Antonio lawyer Mark Stevens was appointed to represent Crusius on Monday. Stevens, a criminal defense attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Crusius is being held without bond and he filed an application for a public defender and said he has no income because he’s been unemployed for five months.
Crusius made his initial court appearance on Sunday on a charge of capital murder. In court documents, Crusius said he was receiving benefits including food stamps and mentioned he had been receiving benefits from a public housing program, according to the El Paso Times.
Crusius had been living with his grandparents in Allen, about 30 miles north of Dallas, while he attended Collin College. He moved out of the house about six weeks before the shooting but spent a few nights in their home while they were out of town, the grandparents said in a statement.
Police said Crusius legally bought the gun he used in the shooting near his hometown. He drove the 10-hour trip to El Paso straight from the Dallas area. They said he got lost in an El Paso neighborhood and stopped at the Walmart where the attack happened because he was hungry.