The man convicted of killing 23 people and injuring 22 others in a racially targeted attack on a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 has been sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences.
Patrick Wood Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty in February to a 90-count indictment that included 45 counts of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and 45 counts of using a firearm during a violent crime, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday. He faces additional state charges and could receive the death penalty if convicted.
Crusius had admitted to committing the attack because of the “actual and perceived national origin of the people he expected to be at the Walmart,” the DOJ said.
Killed in the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3, 2019 were: Andre Anchondo, Jordan Anchondo, Arturo Benavides, Jorge Calvillo Garcia, Guillermo Garcia, Leonardo Campos, Angelina Englisbee, Maria Flores, Raul Flores, Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, Alexander Hoffmann, David Johnson, Luis Alfonso Juarez, Maria Legarreta Rothe, Maribel Loya Hernandez, Ivan Filiberto Manzano, Gloria Irma Marquez, Elsa Mendoza Marquez, Margie Reckard, Sara Regalado Monreal, Javier Amir Rodriguez, Teresa Sanchez and Juan Velasquez.
Victims ranged in age from 15 to 90, and the shooting occurred on a busy Saturday morning, according to media reports. Crusius was armed with an AK-47-style rifle and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
“No one in this country should have to live in fear of hate-fueled violence—that they will be targeted because of what they look like or where they are from,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
Walmart did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the sentencing.
Walmart remodeled the Cielo Vista store and reopened it in November 2019 along with a Grand Candela monument in the parking lot. The memorial includes 22 perforated aluminum arcs circled together into a 30-foot candle that symbolizes unity, the retailer said. (The 23rd victim of the shooting died five months after the attack. Walmart has since added 23 plaques to the memorial site.)
“As the store resumes retail operations, we remain focused on honoring the victims and survivors,” Todd Peterson, then-Walmart VP and regional general manager, said in a company statement at the time. “The 30-foot-high Grand Candela will stand as a tribute to each of the lives lost on August 3 and a testament to the light of hope that radiates from the El Paso community.”
In November, a longtime Walmart manager killed six store employees and wounded six others before killing himself in the breakroom of a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia.