Patrick Crusius: El Paso shooting suspect fuels fears of increasing white supremacist threat

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Patrick Crusius: El Paso shooting suspect fuels fears of increasing white supremacist threatPatrick Crusius, the suspected gunman in the El Paso mass shooting, was being investigated for hate crimes on Sunday as a familiar portrait began to emerge of the alleged shooter.  Just as it was the case in a series of recent tragedies in the US, the suspect in Texas was a young, white man who had had apparently espoused racist ideology.  The attack comes amid increasing concerns about the threat of domestic terrorism associated with racism and white supremacy in the US and around the world.  Police are investigating the El Paso mass shooting as a hate crime after an anti-immigrant manifesto, apparently written by the suspect, was posted online.  Crusius, of the Dallas area in Texas, was arrested after at least 20 people were killed and 24 injured in a shooting at a Walmart in Texas. El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said police had found a manifesto that may have been written by Crusius and posted online. “Right now we have a manifesto from this individual, that indicates to some degree, it has a nexus to potential hate crime,” Mr Allen said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers gather near the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso Credit: AP He added that authorities were still working to “validate” that it was written by the suspected shooter. The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the mass shooting, CNN reported, citing a source.  The “manifesto” was posted to 8chan, a no-censorship site where other extremist manifestos have appeared. Though the writer denied he was a white supremacist, the document said "race mixing" was destroying the nation and recommended dividing the United States into territorial enclaves determined by race. It claimed the shooting was a response to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas”, referring to the so-called “Great Replacement”, a white supremacist conspiracy theory that claims people of European descent are being overwhelmed. It also expressed support for the suspect in the Christchurch mosque shootings, in which 51 people were killed. The author complained that the AK-47 rifle that he chose was "not designed to shoot rounds quickly, so it overheats massively after about 100 shots are fired in quick succession". To counter this he said he'd wear a heat-resistant glove. About | Hate crime The writer said he probably spent less than a month preparing for the shooting. "I have to do this before I lose my nerve," he noted. Strangely, the document includes a rant against automation and corporate America. "The inconvenient truth is that our leaders, both Democrat AND Republican, have been failing us for decades," the document read. He then describes his death as "likely inevitable". "If I'm not killed by the police, then I'll probably be gunned down by one of the invaders. "Capture in this case is far worse than dying during the shooting because I'll get the death penalty anyway," he wrote. Crusius was described as quiet, antisocial and a bit “strange,” the Washington Post reported, citing people who grew up with him in Plano. Asked during a CNN interview about reports of disturbing online posts made by the suspect, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he would not be surprised in any way. "I think those can help shed light on why he did it," Mr Paxton said. "They are still interviewing him." The latest atrocity comes a week after a gunman opened fire at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. At least three people died and 12 injured when Santino William Legan, 19, carried out the rampage before he killed himself. While no motive has been established for the attack, investigators were examining Legan's social media accounts, including an Instagram account in which he referenced a white supremacist book. In October last year, 11 people were left dead after a gunman attacked a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Robert Bowers, the 46-year-old suspect, appeared to be the author of a rash of violently anti-Semitic posts on the Gab.com social networking website. Six months later, a man armed with an assault-style rifle opened fire inside a synagogue near San Diego on Saturday, killing one woman inside and wounding three others in a "hate crime" on the last day of Passover.  John Earnest, the 19-year-old suspect, apparently published an anti-Semitic open letter on a far-right message board hours before the attack. Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is seen in the dock during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court Credit: Reuters That manifesto was reportedly similar to one posted on the same message board by Brenton Tarrant, the white supremacist who was behind the March 15 mosque attacks in Christchurch. And while the massacre at the Parkland school in Florida in February last year was not designated a hate crime, the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, had been fixated on racist imagery.  Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said political polarisation and a rise of far-right nationalism was contributing to hate crime around the globe. “We’re seeing a coalescence of traditional hate crime with political violence,” he told the LA Times last week. In July, FBI. Director Christopher Wray told Congress that the bureau had made about 100 domestic terrorism arrests in the first three quarters of the year, roughly the same number of international arrests over that time period.  Beto O’Rourke, one of the Democratic presidential candidates, said Mr Trump’s rhetoric has triggered violence, though he stopped short of blaming him for the El Paso shootings. “He is a racist and he stokes racism in this country," Mr O’Rourke said. "And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”


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