- The president went on to link both attacks to a “mental illness problem”.
- “We’re treating this as a domestic terrorist case,” John Bash, the US Attorney for the Western District of Texas, told a news conference on Sunday.
- He has been co-operating with investigators, according to police, and has reportedly told them he acted alone.
A shooting at a supermarket in the US state of Texas that left 20 dead is being investigated as domestic terrorism, officials say.
A 21-year-old white man was arrested at the scene of the attack in the city of El Paso, near the US-Mexico border.
He is believed to have posted an online document calling the attack a response to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas”.
Police on Sunday said he had been charged with capital murder, meaning he could face the death penalty.
US President Donald Trump has said “perhaps more has to be done” to prevent mass shootings following the El Paso attack and another in Ohio 13 hours later in which nine people, including the gunman’s sister, were killed.
“Hate has no place in our country, and we are going to take care of it,” he told reporters on Sunday. “This has been going on for years, for years and years in our country and we have to get it stopped.”
The president went on to link both attacks to a “mental illness problem”.
“If you look at both of these cases, this is mental illness. These are people who are very, very seriously mentally ill,” he said.
But critics argue that the roots of the two massacres lie in the president’s language about immigrants and Mexicans in particular, and his opposition to gun control.
The El Paso gunman opened fire on a crowded Walmart on Saturday with an assault-style rifle and surrendered after being confronted by police officers outside the store. Twenty-six people were injured in the shooting.
“We’re treating this as a domestic terrorist case,” John Bash, the US Attorney for the Western District of Texas, told a news conference on Sunday.
He said the attack appeared “to be designed to intimidate a civilian population, to say the least”.
The suspect has been named by US media as Patrick Crusius, a resident of Allen, in the Dallas area, about 650 miles (1,046km) east of El Paso. It is not yet clear how long before the attack he had gone to the city.
He is believed to be the author of a text posted on 8chan, an online message board frequently used by the far right, which describes a “cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion” in alluding to Hispanic people in the US.
The four-page document, reportedly posted some 20 minutes before police received the first emergency call from the Walmart, also expresses support for the gunman who killed 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.
Video shows shooting inside Cielo Vista Walmart in El Paso, Texas. 18 people are confirmed dead. pic.twitter.com/JghKV2C5ci— Atlantide (@Atlantide4world) August 3, 2019
He has been co-operating with investigators, according to police, and has reportedly told them he acted alone.
The shooting, believed to be the eighth deadliest in modern US history, took place in a city where most of the population of 680,000 is of Hispanic descent.
The victims have not yet been named but Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said six Mexican nationals were among the dead and seven others were injured.
Security camera images said to be of the attacker show an armed man in a dark T-shirt wearing eye glasses and what appear to be ear protectors.
Reports of an active shooter were received at 10:39 local time (16:39 GMT), and law enforcement officers were on the scene within six minutes, police said.
The Walmart, near the Cielo Vista Mall, was full of shoppers buying back-to-school supplies at the time of the shooting, and witnesses described scenes of chaos as customers fled for their lives.
“People were panicking and running, saying that there was a shooter,” Kianna Long told Reuters news agency. “They were running close to the floor, people were dropping on the floor.”
Ms Long said she and her husband ran through a stock room before taking cover with other customers.
“Yesterday I was in shock. Today, my heart is hurting.”
Gilda Baeza Ortega is looking at the Walmart building in disbelief from across a car park. She had been on the way to the store, but then decided to go for breakfast with her parents instead.
But it is not just that that makes her feel so close to what has happened.
“It’s the fact he was targeting us. I’m a Mexican-American and very proud of that. To me that is the biggest wound.”
People have been coming here all day to lay flowers, a cross, even a Rubik’s cube, in tribute.
Some are also asking police when they can retrieve their cars from Walmart’s car park. It is a popular place for people to come shopping from Mexico, and many now cannot make the return journey as their passports are locked in their vehicles.
Everyone talks of what a friendly place El Paso is, how everyone knows each other. A taxi driver mentions the “six degrees of separation” here. She is dreading the list of names coming out, worried she knows one of the victims.