By Vanessa Romo
Mourners gather at memorial crosses near the scene of a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Aug. 3.
The gunman accused of the shooting massacre that left 22 people dead at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday was in his car — nearly a mile away from the horrific scene — when he surrendered to Texas Rangers, according to an arrest affidavit.
“Agents and police officers at the intersection then observed a male person — the defendant — exit out of the vehicle with his hands raised in the air and stated out loud to the agents, ‘I’m the shooter,’ ” the document states.
It appears the alleged shooter somehow evaded El Paso Police Department officers who arrived at the store about six minutes after receiving calls about a disturbance at the popular shopping center, which then became calls about a shooting in progress.
Sgt. Enrique Carrillo told NPR 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius was in the left hand lane of an intersection when rangers pulled up behind him. “He had driven up to that intersection, but when the officer saw him he had already exited the car,” Carrillo said.
The suspect was arrested and transported to the El Paso Police Department’s headquarters, where police say he waived his Miranda rights and agreed “to speak about the incident.”
During questioning, police say, the alleged shooter confessed that he planned the rampage and drove nearly 10 hours from Allen, Texas, to the border city with the intention of targeting “Mexicans.”
Authorities believe Crusius is the author of a 2,300-word anti-immigrant screed that was posted to the online message board 8chan just 19 minutes before the mass shooting. The four-page document talked about a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
“The defendant stated once inside the store he opened fire using his AK-47 shooting multiple innocent victims,” the affidavit says, adding that he was carrying “multiple magazines.”
The 22 victims ranged in age from 15 to 90. Thirteen are listed as U.S. citizens; eight are Mexican nationals. One is German.
Crusius has been in police custody since his arrest but has not been arraigned. Claudia Duran, a spokeswoman for the El Paso County district attorney, said that won’t happen until the investigation by El Paso police and the FBI concludes.
State prosecutors in El Paso announced on Sunday that they will pursue the death penalty.
Mark Stevens, the accused gunman’s lawyer, declined to comment for this story.