2 mass shootings in less than 24 hours shock U.S.
Two mass shootings at crowded public places in Texas and Ohio claimed at least 29 lives in less than 24 hours and left scores of people wounded, a shocking carnage even in a country accustomed to gun violence.
In the Texas border city of El Paso, a gunman opened fire Saturday morning in a shopping area packed with thousands of people during the busy back-to-school season. The attack killed 20 and wounded more than two dozen, many of them critically.
Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman wearing body armor and carrying extra magazines opened fire in a popular nightlife area, killing nine and injuring at least 26 people. The suspected shooter was shot to death by responding officers.
The attacks came less than a week after a 19-year-old gunman killed three people and injured 13 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in California before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The El Paso shooting was being investigated as a possible hate crime as authorities worked to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly beforehand was written by the man arrested. The border city is home to 680,000 people, many of them Latino.
El Paso authorities offered few details about the assault, but Police Chief Greg Allen described the scene as “horrific” and said many of the 26 people who were hurt had life-threatening injuries.
In Dayton, the bloodshed was likely limited by the swift police response. Officers patrolling the area responded in less than a minute to the shooting, which unfolded around 1 a.m. on the streets of the downtown Oregon District, Mayor Nan Whaley said.
Had police not responded so quickly, “hundreds of people in the Oregon District could be dead today,” Whaley said.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said he knew the shooter was not from his city.
“It’s not what we’re about,” the mayor said at the news conference with Gov. Greg Abbott and the police chief.
Two law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity identified the El Paso suspect as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen, which is a nearly 10-hour drive from El Paso.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso and was at a candidate forum Saturday in Las Vegas, appeared shaken after receiving news of the shooting in his hometown.
He said he heard early reports that the shooter might have had a military-style weapon, saying we need to “keep that (expletive) on the battlefield. Do not bring it into our communities.”
The shootings were the 21st and 22nd mass killings of 2019 in the U.S., according to the AP/USA Today/Northeastern University mass murder database that tracks homicides where four or more people killed — not including the offender.
Including the two latest attacks, 125 people had been killed in the 2019 shootings.
Some of the most recent deadly U.S. mass shootings
A list of some of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States in the last two years:
— Aug. 4, 2019: A gunman wearing body armor shot and killed nine people at a popular nightlife area in Dayton, Ohio. Police were patrolling the area and killed the suspect.
— Aug. 3, 2019: A gunman opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 people and injuring more than two dozen. A suspect was taken into custody.
— May 31, 2019: Longtime city worker DeWayne Craddock opened fire in a building that houses Virginia Beach government offices. He killed 12 people and wounded several others before he was gunned down by police.
— Feb. 15, 2019: Gary Martin killed five co-workers at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, during a disciplinary meeting where he was fired. He wounded one other employee and five of the first police officers to arrive at the suburban Chicago plant before he was killed during a shootout police.
— Nov. 7, 2018: Ian David Long killed 12 people at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, California, before taking his own life. Long was a Marine combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan.
— Oct. 27, 2018: Robert Bowers is accused of opening fire at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during Shabbat morning services, killing 11 and injuring others. It’s the deadliest attack on Jews in the U.S. in history.
— June 28, 2018: Jarrod Ramos shot through the windows of the Capital Gazette offices in Annapolis, Maryland, before turning the weapon on employees there, killing five at The Capital newspaper. Authorities say Ramos had sent threatening letters to the newspaper prior to the attack.
— May 18, 2018: Dimitrios Pagourtzis began shooting during an art class at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. The 17-year-old killed eight students and two teachers and 13 others were wounded. Explosive were found at the school and off campus.
— Feb. 14, 2018: Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It surpassed Columbine High School as the deadliest shooting at a high school in U.S. history.
— Nov. 5, 2017: Devin Patrick Kelley, who had been discharged from the Air Force after a conviction for domestic violence, used an AR-style firearm to shoot up a congregation at a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing more than two dozen.
— Oct. 1, 2017: Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip from the 32nd floor of a hotel-casino, killing 58 people and wounding more than 500. SWAT teams with explosives then stormed his room and found he had killed himself.