US white nationalist pleads guilty to 2019 El Paso massacre in Texas

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A young white nationalist who in 2019 shot and killed 23 people at a Texas supermarket in the majority-Hispanic city of El Paso pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court, news reports said.

During a hearing in the same city on the US-Mexico border, Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty to 90 counts against him including committing a hate crime resulting in death, local networks ABC7 and KFOX14 reported.

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His lawyers reversed course in January and decided to have him plead guilty to the shooting at a Walmart store after federal prosecutors dropped the death penalty as a possible sentence.

But he still faces trial at the state level in Texas, which has not ruled out requesting capital punishment.

On August 3, 2019, Crusius drove some 660 miles (1,060 kilometers) from Allen, Texas near Dallas to the Walmart Supercenter in El Paso with an assault rifle and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

He opened fire on people in the supermarket parking lot, killing 23 and wounding 22.

According to the federal indictment, before Crusius launched his attack he uploaded a document to the internet titled “The Inconvenient Truth” in which he said his attack “is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

He said he was “defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement,” referring to a concept by white supremacists claiming other ethnic groups are “replacing” them in the population.

When police showed up he got out of his car and identified himself as the shooter. While in custody Crusius told police he had wanted to kill “Mexicans.”

The massacre ignited a debate on how then-president Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of immigrants guided the behavior of people who supported him.

Crusius’s attack was the fifth deadliest mass shooting in US history.

It came two years after a gunman killed 58 at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas and three years after a man murdered 49 at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

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