Author of the massacre in El Paso where 23 people died pleaded guilty

Patrick Crusius is indicted for the 2019 El Paso massacre.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

a man of Texas pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges accusing him of killing 23 people in a racist hate-fuelled massacre at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, changing his earlier plea after the Justice Department decided not to seek the death penalty for the attack, classified as internal terrorism and a hate crime.

Patrick Crusius still faces a possible death sentence if convicted on a state capital murder charge in the 2019 shooting that killed 23 people. He pleaded not guilty in the state case, but his lawyers said last month that he would plead guilty to the federal charges.

The federal court where Crusius, dressed in a blue jumpsuit, handcuffed and with a chain around his waist, pleaded guilty, it was packed with families of the victims who died and dozens of people who were affected by the shooting.

At least 200 other people who could not access the court led by federal judge David C. Guaderrama watched the hearing in an adapted room where the hearing was broadcast on television, the El Paso Times reported.

The guilty plea occurs on the proposed date for trial to begin in the federal case.

The attack occurred on Saturday, August 3, 2019, at an El Paso Walmart store that is regularly frequented by shoppers from Mexico and border residents and is considered the worst racist attack directed against Hispanics in the United States.

The defendant confessed to the police when he was arrested that his objective was to kill “Mexicans” and acknowledged that he was the one who opened fire on the crowd, according to investigation documents.

Crusius drove nearly 10 hours from the city of Allen, where he resided, to carry out the massacre, allegedly posting a manifesto online claiming the attack was a “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

The young man began the attack in the parking lot and then entered the store, where he continued to fire with a military-style AK-47 rifle.

Through his attorneys, Crusius later pleaded not guilty in state and federal court.

In addition to the 23 dead, 22 people were injured and dozens more with scratches and bruises as they fled the store.

In October of last year, a state judge decided to postpone the start of the trial until the federal prosecution began.

With information from EFE