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Mexico government says El Paso shootings were 'act of terrorism' against Mexicans

EL PASO, Texas - Mexico's foreign secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, said Monday that the Mexican government considers the mass shooting at a crowded Walmart store in El Paso to be an "act of terrorism" against Mexican citizens on U.S. soil.

Ebrard met Monday afternoon with local authorities in El Paso and said Mexico will participate in the investigations and trial of the man suspected of carrying out the attack.

"An investigation will be opened for terrorism, because that's what it was," Ebrard said at a press conference, where he also expressed hopes the tragic shootings will lead to changes in U.S. gun laws.

You can watch the entire news conference in the video player below.

He added that "an extradition request is not off the table" for the alleged gunman and said Mexico may also take legal action against those who sold the gun to the shooter.

Mexican officials have said eight Mexican nationals were among the dead. Tens of thousands of Mexicans legally cross the border each day to work and shop in El Paso. Another Mexican patient remained in critical condition Monday.

Ebrard met with families of the victims and the injured and promised to speed up the repatriation process for the bodies of the Mexican victims.

"We agree that it appears racism and white supremacy are serious problems in the United States," Ebrard said.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador previously said that Mexico will respect the debate that will unfold in the United States following the Saturday attack that killed a total of 22 people, but he believes the discussion could lead to change north of the border.

"There could be a change to their laws because it is stunning what is happening, unfortunate and very powerful," López Obrador said. "I don't rule out that they could change their constitution and laws. These are new times; you have to always be adjusting the legal framework to the new reality."

Many in Mexico were reeling from revelations that the shooting appeared to have been aimed at Hispanics, and Mexicans in particular.

Just minutes before the rampage, U.S. investigators believe the shooter posted a rambling online manifesto in which he railed against a perceived "invasion" of Hispanics coming into the U.S. He then allegedly targeted a shopping area in El Paso that is about 5 miles from the main border checkpoint with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The Mexican victims were identified as Sara Esther Regalado of Ciudad Juarez; Adolfo Cerros Hernández of Aguascalientes; Jorge Calvillo García of Torreon, Coahuila; Elsa Mendoza de la Mora of Yepomera, Chihuahua; Gloria Irma Marquez of Ciudad Juarez; María Eugenia Legarreta of the city of Chihuahua; Ivan Filiberto Manzano of Ciudad Juarez; and Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez of Zacatecas. Other victims may have also been of Mexican descent.

As the news dominated weekend headlines, some in Mexico said the shooting was the result of the simmering resentment that President Donald Trump had stirred early into his presidential campaign when he called Mexicans coming into the U.S. "rapists" and "criminals." The U.S.-Mexico relationship was only further strained after he took office and vowed to build a border wall and slap tariffs on Mexican imports.

López Obrador chose his words carefully when speaking of the shooting.

"In spite of the pain, the outrage" that Mexicans are feeling, he said, the U.S. is headed toward elections and Mexico doesn't want to interfere in the "internal affairs" of other countries. He also said the events in Texas reaffirmed his conviction that "social problems shouldn't be confronted with the use of force and by inciting hate."

Former President Felipe Calderón said via Twitter that regardless of whether the shooting is a hate crime, Trump "should stop his hate speech. He should stop stigmatizing others."

Amatza Gutiérrez, a student from the Mexican capital, said the idea of a shooter targeting Mexicans because of their ethnicity gives her goose bumps.

"I don't understand why anyone would go to that extreme," the 24-year-old said.


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