El Paso Timeline: Police and Witness Reported Multiple Shooters
Police in El Paso tweeted that there were multiple reports of multiple shooters as the grim massacre in El Paso unfolded last Saturday, and the mayor of El Paso later told CNN distinctly that "three suspects" had been placed in custody. However, further reports have eliminated mention of any more than one shooter, and police have said that "multiple shooters" have been ruled out "at this time." Time Magazine reported that El Paso police spokesman Robert Gomez said that:
“At this time we have ruled out multiple shooters,”
The sole suspect now is Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, who allegedly posted an anti-Hispanic screed on the Internet before the shooting.
Authorities have not released a timeline of the actual shooting, but available information indicates that the shooter ultimately killed 22 people and wounded 24 others, in well under six minutes. In the same report Time writes:
"El Paso police said they received the first reports of an active shooter at 10:39 a.m. local time at the Walmart at Cielo Vista Mall."
"Police were on scene within 6 minutes."
There was no shoot-out with police, and first responders do not report hearing gunfire. Apparently the shooter broke off the attack before responders arrived within six minutes. The alleged shooter, Patrick Crusius, had time to return to his car and drive some distance before stopping, exiting the vehicle with his hands up, and surrendering to a police officer on a motorcycle about a quarter mile from the Walmart, saying he was the shooter. Police say they do not know why the attack stopped.
After initially reporting that Crusius was arrested when he was confronted by an officer on the sidewalk, at a press conference three days after the attack the El Paso police updated the details of the arrest, saying the suspect stopped his car near a police officer, got out, and surrendered. An AP report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune describes:
"El Paso police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said Tuesday that Patrick Crusius stopped a Honda Civic, got out with hands raised and told the officer he was the shooter. Carrillo said it happened about a quarter mile from the Walmart that was the scene of the attack."
An August 7th AP report states (via The Rock Hill Herald):
"Police did not know how many bullets were fired or why the attack stopped."
Thus the window for the shots being fired can be deduced to be a small one, from the time the first shots were heard at 10:39 to the time first responders arrived six minutes later, minus the time it took Crusius, the alleged shooter, to exit carrying his rifle and get back to his car without responders noticing, if they if fact they were on the scene yet.
A male in a surveillance photo, allegedly Crusius, can be seen with what appears to be a 30-round magazine loaded into an AK-47 rifle entering the Walmart. The shooter is not wearing a tactical vest carrying additional magazines but is wearing cargo pants with pockets. No other magazines are visible in the surveillance photos released.
The New York Times reported yesterday that authorities are studying the manifesto to determine if it was actually written by Crusius.
Scene is still Active. We have multi reports of multiple shooters. Please avoid area police conducting search of a very large area. Media staging will be given when area is secure.— EL PASO POLICE DEPT (@EPPOLICE) August 3, 2019
And in a strangely deleted CBS News tweet, CBS reported that "El Paso Police say they have 'no doubt' there are multiple shooters." The tweet was captured by WWL AM/FM radio of New Orleans before it disappeared.
In a related development, a woman witness says that she saw three to four men dressed in black running and shooting, and that she was sure they were not police. The woman and her daughter took cover beneath a table of some sort. The woman says, in Spanish:
"I didn't see their faces. I saw them all dressed in black, and they were the ones shooting because I could see their weapons and the bullets firing..."
The woman makes a sweeping motion like a rifle being fired back and forth.
Another witness insisted that the gunman he saw was wearing "all black" and wore a mask. The suspect Crusius in surveillance footage is not wearing a mask, nor all black clothing.