Texas

Lawyers: Patrick Crusius’ mom asked police about weapons before El Paso shooting

Gov. Abbott and O’Rourke call El Paso mass shooting a crime of ‘hate’

Presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke called for a confrontation of hatred after a mass shooting at a shopping center in his hometown, El Paso, Texas. And Gov. Greg Abbott called the tragedy that left 20 dead a hate crime.
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Presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke called for a confrontation of hatred after a mass shooting at a shopping center in his hometown, El Paso, Texas. And Gov. Greg Abbott called the tragedy that left 20 dead a hate crime.

An attorney for the family of the man charged in the El Paso Walmart shooting rampage says the man’s mother contacted police weeks before the attack out of concern that her son had a rifle.

Dallas attorney Chris Ayres confirmed to The Associated Press that the call was made to police in Allen, a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb. He declined to give details, but he and fellow attorney R. Jack Ayres told CNN that Patrick Crusius’ mother contacted the Allen Police Department to ask about an “AK” type firearm Crusius owned.

The attorneys said the mother was only seeking information and wasn’t motivated by a concern that her son was a threat to anybody. They also said the mother didn’t identify herself or her son in the call.

Allen police said the call was made to the department’s main line on June 27.

Although informational calls to that line are not recorded, an internal security camera recorded one side of the conversation. “A public safety officer answered informational questions about firearms possession and ownership and asked about the emotional state and intentions of the person who had ordered the weapon,” the department said.

The information relayed by the caller did not warrant additional law enforcement involvement, the department said.

Chris Ayres did not answer questions about how the weapon used in the attack was obtained. But he told The Associated Press in an email that Crusius “occasionally shot guns, as many do, with his dad.”

Ayres also said the family never heard Patrick Crusius express the racist and anti-immigrant views that were contained in a manifesto that appeared online before the attack.

Authorities believe Crusius, 21, wrote a rambling document that railed against a “Hispanic invasion” and the dangers of mass immigration before he opened fire in a Walmart in the border city last weekend.

Officials with Allen Police Department previously released a statement saying they have had what they called “limited” contact with the suspect, accused of killing 22 people Saturday in El Paso in an act of domestic terrorism.

Allen police said that they have had contact with Crusius three times.

In 2014, he was reported as a runaway. He returned home about 30 minutes after the police report was made.

Two years later, the Plano Senior High School student was listed as a passenger on a Plano school district bus that was involved in a minor traffic accident. He was one of eight passengers on the bus.

In March, Crusius called Allen police dispatch to report a false residential alarm at his grandparents’ house. Police said the call was “cleared without incident according to protocol.”

Allen is a Dallas suburb about 580 miles east of El Paso. Authorities say Crusius drove more than 10 hours to El Paso to carry out the attack.

Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, another gunman killed nine people in an entertainment district.

Crusius’ defense attorney says he will try to avoid death penalty

A court-appointed lawyer representing Crusius says he will do everything he can to ensure his client is not executed.

Crusius has been charged with capital murder in state court in the Saturday massacre, and may face federal hate-crime charges that could also come with a death sentence if he’s convicted.

Attorney Mark Stevens told The Associated Press in an email Wednesday that he “will use every legal tool available to me to prevent” Crusius from being put to death.

Stevens, a veteran criminal defense attorney from San Antonio, said he will only represent Crusius in state court and declined to comment further on the case. A judge appointed him Monday.

Governor says there were no known ‘red flags’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s first calls for action after the El Paso massacre include cracking down on internet sites used by violent extremists and confronting racism. But the Republican didn’t suggest any substantive gun-control measures.

Abbott says the state must keep weapons away from “deranged killers” but didn’t offer specifics. He also told reporters the information he’s received suggests there were “no red flags” with the suspected El Paso gunman.

Abbott met with lawmakers from El Paso on Wednesday in the border city. All are Democrats and have unsuccessfully pushed for gun restrictions in Texas, where three mass shootings since 2017 have killed more than 50 people.

The meeting happened as President Donald Trump was on his way to El Paso.

This story includes information from the Star-Telegram’s archives.

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