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El Paso shooting suspect claims distance from hometown helped him choose target

The man who authorities say killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart last weekend claimed he targeted the city because, in part, he wanted distance between target and his hometown on the other side of Texas, three sources with knowledge of the investigation said.

Patrick Crusius, the detained suspect in Saturday’s shooting, told investigators this was one reason why he chose El Paso, the sources said. Crusius believed that if he committed the attack near his home in a suburb of Dallas, his family and acquaintances would have known that he did it, the sources said.

El Paso police officials would not comment about the sources’ accounts.

Crusius, 21, drove about 11 hours from his home in Allen to the Walmart in El Paso, police said.

He was arrested on the day of the attack, surrendering to a police officer at an intersection just north of the store.

Police have previously made other comments about his motivation: That the shooting appeared to be a hate crime, as investigators believe he wrote a document filled with hatred of immigrants and Latinos — one that said he wanted to stop a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas.

About 83% of El Paso’s residents are Hispanic or Latino, according to the US Census Bureau. In Allen, about 11% of residents are Hispanic or Latino, according to census data.

The document was published on the online messaging board 8chan about 20 minutes before the shooting, authorities said. The author says he opposes “race mixing” and encourages immigrants to return to their home countries.

Federal authorities have said they’re treating the shooting as a case of domestic terrorism. Crusius has been charged with capital murder in the shooting and is being held without bond.

Police said Crusius, besides killing 22 people, injured 24 others in the shooting.

The shooting was one of the 10 deadliest in modern US history and one of three mass shootings in the past two weeks — the others being in Dayton, Ohio and Gilroy, California.

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