The government has filed hate crime charges against a man who said he was targeting Mexicans and shot to death 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso last summer.
A multicount federal indictment against suspected gunman Patrick Crusius of Allen, of Texas, was expected to be announced later Thursday at a news conference in El Paso, a source told The Associated Press.
A manifesto attributed to the suspect in the August 3 shooting, during a busy back-to-school shopping day, said the attack was aimed at scaring Hispanics into leaving the United States.
Eight Mexican nationals were among the victims of the attack at a Walmart store popular with shoppers who live in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which is across the border from El Paso.
El Paso’s population is more than 80 per cent Hispanic.
Mexican nationals that were killed in the shooting included: Sara Esther Regalado and her husband Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, Gloria Irma Marquez, Jorge Calvillo Garcia, Maria Eugenia Legarreta Rothe, Ivan Filiberto Manzano and Elsa Mendoza de la Mora.
Crusius pleaded not guilty to state capital murder charges last year. He allegedly told detectives ‘I’m the shooter’ when he surrendered.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The indictment comes as El Paso marks the six month anniversary of the massacre. Last weekend, the commuter town of San Elizario planted 22 oak trees in honor of the victims.
A month after the mass shooting in El Paso, Walmart announced it planned to phase out sales of certain kinds of ammunition in its stores.
The move will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20 per cent to less than 10 per cent, according to Walmart.
About half of its more than 4,750 U.S. stores sell firearms, but they account for only two per cent of guns sold in the U.S. Most are sold through thousands of unaffiliated gun shops or gun shows, not big retail chains.
At least 400 people are seeking assistance from One Fund El Paso , a relief group that is disbursing the $6milion raised by the community providing aid to shooting victims.