Crime

Shooting situation in El Paso's Cielo Vista Mall area: 20 dead, suspect in custody

EL PASO, Texas - UPDATE #7: 10:28 p.m.

El Paso Police are urging the go to the reunification area at MacArthur Middle School at 8101 Whitus Dr. if they are missing a family member. 

"This is a very difficult process," said El Paso Police spokesman Sgt. Robert Gomez. 

Gomez said while families may be stressed, police are doing their best to try to reunite people with their families.

Gomez added that the reunification is the first place people need to go. 

"This is the most traumatic scene that I've been close to," Gomez said. "It is tough to see a very heinous crime in your own community." 

El Paso Police said that despite rumors, no shots were fired at Cielo Vista Mall. 

Deceased victims are still being held inside the Walmart Super Center at this time. No word yet on when they will be removed. 

Police said the crime scene will be held overnight. Details as to how the suspect was apprehended have not been released. The motive is still unclear. 

El Paso Police are working with federal and state law enforcement agencies at this time. Gomez reiterated the investigation is still ongoing. 

UPDATE #6 5:30:

In a news conference surrounded by city leaders and law enforcement agencies, Governor Greg Abbott confirmed that 20 people have died in the mass shooting near Cielo Vista Mall. 

Police responded at 10:45 a.m., six minutes after the first 911 call went out. El Paso Police said 26 people are injured. Chief Greg Allen said the scene is a horrific one. 

Chief Allen said the suspect who is in custody is a 21-year-old white male from Allen, TX. He would not confirm the suspect's name. Police confirmed the suspect used an AK-47 rifle in the attack. 

The deceased will also remain at the scene until the crime is cleared. 

The State of Texas will be the lead agency prosecuting the suspect. It is not confirmed if the mass shooting is a hate crime. 

The FBI said is it a murder investigation and is currently reviewing all the evidence at this time. 

The suspect was around outside the Walmart where the initial shooting took place. Chief Allen said he surrendered to police. 

Governor Abbott said the state is doing more than ever before, specifically during the last legislative session, to make sure students are safer than ever before after the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston. "During that time, as far as I know, we did not evaluate for or plan for a situation like this." Abbott said that during the legislative session, the most agreed upon issue was how to challenge mental health in the state.

Chief Allen said if there is additional information that needs to be released, another new conference could be scheduled. 

The eighth deadliest shooting in the United States. This is the third year in a row that Texas has had a mass shooting. In 2018, 10 people died in the Santa Fe High School shooting. In 2017, 26 people died in the Sutherland Springs shooting. 

UPDATE #5 4:21 pm 

Law enforcement official tells the AP at least 15 dead in El Paso attack

The Associated Press and ABC News is reporting the suspect is 21-year-old Patrick Crusius

UPDATE #4 3:30 pm

From El Paso Police El Paso PD confirms 1 person in custody who is a white male in his 20s.

There were between 1-3 thousand people at Walmart when the shooting started. Police have transitioned into the criminal investigation. There have been fatalities but no confirmation on numbers of injuries or fatalities. Police believe at this time the shooter acted alone. The mall and Walmart have been cleared of potential shooting suspects. They do not believe there is a continued danger to the public. No motive or reason for why the sooting started given yet.

UPDATE #3 Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso confirms 11 patients ranging in age from 35yrs old to 82 yrs old were taken to their hospital. They say two are of the patients are in stable condition and nine are listed in critical condition. University Medical Center confirms 13 patients, 1 dead. No word on their conditions. Ages 2 through senior citizens.

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UPDATE #2: Multiple people have been killed in the mass shooting in El Paso, according to police and the mayor's office. (WATCH LIVE COVERAGE BELOW)

One suspect was in custody, but authorities did not say exactly how many people were injured.

UPDATE #1: A witness told ABC-7 that they were next to the Wal-Mart off of Hawkins, and police started evacuating the area. The witness says there were people that came out of the Wal-Mart covered in blood. The witness walked into the Wal-Mart and says he saw one body on the ground with a serious injury to the head. 

Police told everyone to evacuate the area or hide behind cars, according to the witness. Police believe multiple shooters are involved. 

A second witness tells ABC-7 she was in JC Penny at the Cielo Vista mall when the reports of shooting came down. This witness says people were evacuated from Dillard's into JC Penny and then they were all evacuated from the area. 

Our ABC-7 eyewitness confirms presence of Local & State Police, ICE, FBI, and the Homeland Security, as well as a mass casualty ambulance bus.

ORIGINAL REPORT:

El Paso police are reporting an active shooter situation near the Walmart on Hawkins and Gateway East and the Cielo Vista Mall; police said there were multiple reports of multiple shooters and they are conducting a large area search.

Police said the scene on the city's east side is still active and they are warning all members of the public to stay away from the area of Airway to Hawkins north of Interstate 10.

A witness tells ABC-7 people are being escorted out of the mall with their hands in the air.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had agents en route to the mall area; the ATF asked that people refrain from posting images of first responders to social media.

Employees at several nearby restaurants told CNN they see a lot of police, helicopters and people running around outside.

"We never thought it would be so close to us this time," Landry's Seafood House restaurant manager Oscar Collazo told CNN. "You see on the news all the time, but you don't think it could happen here until it does."​​​​​​

We will continue to update as more information becomes available.


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