A Twitter account likely belonging to the suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, identified 21-year-old Patrick Crusius as a “proud God-loving Christian.”
The alleged gunman, in custody for the killing of 20 people inside a crowded shopping center, had apparently posted a manifesto online voicing anti-Hispanic sentiment and decrying the immigrant “invasion” of El Paso.
He also is believed to have posted, in a suspended Twitter account opened in July 2019, tweets praising church shooter Dylann Roof, opposing abortion and gun control and supporting President Donald Trump.
Federal prosecutors called the attack, apparently motivated by hatred for Hispanic people, an act of domestic terrorism.
Just last week a group of Christian leaders released a statement denouncing “Christian nationalism” – defined as attempts to merge Christian and American identities – saying it “often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.”
The Christians Against Christian Nationalism statement, signed by more than 6,000 individuals and spearheaded by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, specifically repudiates Christian nationalism that “inspires acts of violence and intimidation.”
“No, this statement alone will not solve the problem, but I pray it may be part of a solution for our society that is in crisis,” BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler tweeted after church on Sunday.
Tyler urged others to denounce Christian nationalism as “a gross distortion of Christianity.”
Hours after the El Paso shooting, a gunman killed nine people and injured 27 in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio. The shooter, killed by police, was a self-described “leftist” who once got suspended from high school for writing a “hit list” of people he wanted to kill on a bathroom wall. One of the victims was his sister.
The attacks in El Paso and Dayton marked the 250th and 251st mass shootings so far in 2019, as tracked by the non-profit Gun Violence Archive.
Crusius, a resident of Allen, Texas — a suburb north of Dallas and a 10-hour drive from El Paso — was booked into the El Paso downtown jail Aug. 4 on charges of capital murder.
El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza said in a press conference on Sunday that prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Authorities are still working to confirm whether the anti-immigrant diatribe discovered online was in fact written by the suspect.