EL PASO — The gunman charged in the deadly attack that took the lives of 20 people in this border city has been charged with state capital murder charges, and federal authorities are separately pursuing a domestic terrorism case, law enforcement officials said Sunday.
The alleged gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, north of Dallas, is in custody after police said he opened fire at a Walmart in East-Central El Paso. He was arrested without incident and is said to be cooperating with authorities.
“I know the death penalty is something very powerful, but in this occasion it’s something that’s necessary,” El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza told reporters Sunday morning.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said the weapon used in the shooting was purchased legally, but he did not reveal where or when it was purchased.
Crusius allegedly published a manifesto where he indicated the crime was motivated by hatred toward immigrants. El Paso police and the FBI have said they are investigating the manifesto to determine whether Crusius was the author.
John Bash, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, said the crime meets the criteria for domestic terrorism under federal law.
“This meets [the definition], it appears to be designed to intimidate a civilian population,” he said. “And we’re going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is deliver swift and certain justice.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie said the agency has also obtained three search warrants to execute in the Dallas area. He added that the FBI “continues to look at a number of different potential crimes” and that the FBI hate crimes fusion cell — which includes field agents, analysts and members of the agency’s criminal investigations and counterterrorism divisions — has been activated.
Local authorities seeking the death penalty doesn’t mean the feds won’t do the same, however. After the 2015 mass shooting in a Charleston, S.C. church that left nine black churchgoers dead, 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof faced a death sentence on both state and federal charges. He was sentenced to die in federal court before the state prosecution moved forward; he ultimately pleaded guilty and received a life sentence on the state charges.
Federal executions have been rare: The federal government has put to death three people since the death penalty was reinstated, with the last one in 2003. U.S. Attorney General William Barr has scheduled five more for December and January.
It’s too early to know how those jurisdiction questions will play out in the El Paso shooting, but Texas has executed more people than any other state in the country by far — with more than 560 people put to death since capital punishment was reinstated nationally in 1976. Eleven men are scheduled to be executed before the end of the year.
Early Sunday morning, the Walmart where the shooting happened was still surrounded by police officers and yellow crime scene tape. Allen said authorities were working quickly to restore normalcy to the area.
“We’re beginning to remove the bodies from the scene,” he said.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2019/08/04/gunman-el-paso-shooting-faces-death-penalty-domestic-terrorism-charges/.
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Text to 9-1-1 is now Available in Plano
When it isn’t safe to call, texting is now an option.
The Public Safety Communications Department (Plano 9-1-1) has announced that text to 9-1-1 has been implemented in Plano.
The ability to text messages will assist citizens who are hearing impaired, providing equal access to 9-1-1. It can also be used in circumstances where it is unsafe for the caller to physically make a voice call to 9-1-1. (Note: text to 9-1-1 is not available in every city.)
Here are a few important tips to remember when texting to 9-1-1:
- SMS does not provide accurate location data. You must provide your location as soon as you text.
- No photos or videos, only text.
- No emoji’s.
- No abbreviations, spell things out. Be clear.
- Only text to 9-1-1 if you are unable to make a voice call.
Top Ten U.S. Digital Cities
Only one north Texas city made into the top ten.
The City of Plano has been named a Top Ten U.S. Digital City by the Center for Digital Government.
Now in its 19th year, the annual survey recognizes cities using technology to challenge social challenges, enhance cybersecurity improve transparency and much more.
“Special congratulations go out to Plano, Texas, where the Technology Services Division established a governance board and process for vetting, prioritizing and managing over 320 technology projects and initiatives,” said Phil Bertolini, co-director for the Center for Digital Government. “In addition, through consolidation and infrastructure upgrades, Plano serves as a great example of how a city can leverage technology to increase performance and reduce costs.”
The City will be recognized for this achievement at an awards dinner held during the National League of Cities’ annual City Summit in San Antonio, November 20-23.
The top ten ranking cities in the 250,000 – 499,999 population category are:
1st City of Miami, FL
2nd City of Durham, NC
3rd City of Virginia Beach, VA
4th City of Wichita, KS
5th City of Kansas City, MO
5th City of Plano, TX
6th City of Madison, WI
7th City of Long Beach, CA
8th City of Henderson, NV
9th City of Chandler, AZ
10th City of Greensboro, NC
10th City of Riverside, CA
McKinney National Airport Receives TxDOT Grant
$15 Million in state funding has been awarded for needed improvements.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has approved a grant of $15 million in state funds from its Aviation Facilities Grant Program for the McKinney National Airport. The funds will be used to extend the existing runway from its current length of 7,002 feet to 8,502 feet.
The first step of the process will be an environmental assessment, followed by design and construction. Construction will likely begin in late 2021.
“Today, business aircraft intending to operate out of McKinney must add congestion to one of the commercial service airports if their operations require additional runway length,” said Airport Director Ken Carley. “We are thrilled and extremely grateful to receive the funding for this project. It is evidence the state recognizes the contributions McKinney National Airport makes to the regional airport system and understands the importance of investing in the airport’s future. Extending the runway by 1,500 feet will benefit the entire DFW area by allowing the airport to more effectively serve its role as a reliever for the region’s commercial service airports.”
Grant funding from TxDOT requires an airport sponsor to contribute a minimum of 10 percent in matching funds. The McKinney City Council approved its matching funds to add to the project in September. TxDOT expects to provide approximately $60 million in funding for planning, constructing, and maintaining community airports this year. About 275 community airports in Texas are eligible for this grant.
Operational activity at the airport is projected to grow throughout the 20-year planning period with increased use by business jets needing longer runway lengths to accommodate heavier loads and longer stage lengths. The current Airport Master Plan recommends accomplishing the runway extension in the next five years to allow the airport unrestricted growth.
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