Governor doesn’t push required background checks
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has tweeted simply “good” after a grand jury indicted the suspect gunman in an El Paso mass shooting on capital murder charges.
Abbott on Thursday also signaled he won’t push for mandatory background checks in private gun sales in wake of the El Paso attack that killed 22 people and a separate rampage in Odessa that left seven people dead.
The National Rifle Association last week pushed back after the state’s Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick defied the powerful gun lobby by coming out in favor of background checks for “stranger to stranger” sales.
But Abbott is instead asking lawmakers to consider ways of making voluntary checks easier for private sellers. Gun-control groups and Democrats called the governor’s response insufficient.
The suspect in the mass shooting in El Paso has been indicted on a capital murder charge.
An indictment announced Thursday charges 21-year-old Patrick Crusius in the Aug. 3 mass shooting that left 22 dead. He is jailed without bond.
El Paso prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Authorities say Crusius confessed to targeting Mexicans in the shooting at a busy Walmart and believe he posted a racist, anti-immigrant screed online shortly before opening fire.
Most of those who died had Hispanic surnames, and eight were Mexican citizens.
Federal authorities plan to bring separate capital murder charges against the suspect.
The Department of Justice is investigating the case as an act of domestic terrorism and a hate crime.
El Paso police say surveillance video does not back up the story told by a man who was honored this week at the White House for his actions during the Aug. 3 mass shooting at a Walmart.
Christopher Grant has said he threw bottles to try to stop the attack, which left 22 people dead. Grant, who was shot twice, was among those recognized this week by President Donald Trump, although his mother received the certificate because Grant had been temporarily detained by the U.S. Secret Service because of an outstanding warrant.
But El Paso Police Sgt. Enrique Carrillo says video did not match Grant’s account, adding that Grant’s actions were “an act of self-preservation and nothing above that.”
Grant did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.
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COPYRIGHT 2020 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.