A few weeks ago, a concerned mother called police in Allen, Texas, and said she was worried about her 21-year-old son owning an assault-style weapon. But an officer told her the gun was perfectly legal, ending the conversation.
That son is now the alleged El Paso shooter.
Patrick Crusius allegedly drove 10 hours from Allen to El Paso and opened fire Saturday morning in a local Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more with an assault-style rifle. His mother’s lawyers, Chris Ayres and R. Jack Ayres, told CNN that she never provided officers with her name or her son’s name, but that police also didn’t ask her for any such information when she shared that her son lacked the maturity or experience necessary for such a potentially violent weapon. (CNN also did not name Crusius’ mother.)
The Allen Police Department did not provide CNN with record or documentation of the phone call, and it’s unclear whether Crusius used the same gun his mother was so worried about in Saturday’s massacre, which took place nearly 660 miles from his home. Both of her attorneys added that she didn’t tell police she was fearful of her son or worried that he posed a threat — she was just worried about the gun.
Because she didn’t express fears about his well-being, the call likely wouldn’t have met the standard of the so-called “red flag” laws currently at the center of a national gun control debate. The law allows police or relatives to petition for someone’s guns to be temporarily taken away if they’re a danger to themselves or others. Texas does not have a red flag law, anyway, and Crusius appears to have obtained his guns legally.
"It's not like alarm bells were going off,” Ayres told CNN.
Crusius has otherwise been described as a quiet, loner type. However, a screed he apparently penned and posted shortly before the shooting details his hatred for immigrants and Mexicans. He told law enforcement his goal was to kill as many Mexicans as possible, according to ABC News. Law enforcement officials also previously told ABC News that Crusius had cased the El Paso Walmart before the shooting.
El Paso is a majority-Hispanic community, and President Donald Trump faced crowds of protesters when he visited the border city on Wednesday.
Crusius is being held without bail on capital murder charges. John Bash, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said that federal authorities will investigate the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and weigh hate crime charges.
Cover: Flags fly over crosses at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)