Feb. 9 (UPI) — The man responsible for killing 23 people and injuring 22 more in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, more than three years ago pleaded guilty Wednesday to all federal charges against him.
As part of a plea agreement, Patrick Crusius received 90 consecutive life sentences, one for each count in the 90-count federal indictment, court documents show.
Of the charges, Crusius pleaded guilty to 45 counts of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
In 2020, the 24-year-old originally pleaded not guilty to the counts, stemming from the shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3, 2019. He arrived that day armed with an assault-style rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department said it would not seek the death penalty in the case.
Prosecutors contend Crusius drove hundreds of miles to carry out the shooting, specifically targeting Latinos, allegedly posting a document online ahead of the attack in which he ranted against immigrants.
Crusius, who is from the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas, reportedly also used the term a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” in the posting.
Officials say Crusius referred to himself as a white nationalist, leaving little doubt the crime was racially motivated.
“Today, the Justice Department secured the guilty plea of Patrick Wood Crusius, a self-described white nationalist, for federal hate crime and firearms offenses in connection with the deadly mass shooting targeting people perceived to be Hispanic immigrants at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
“Nothing can undo the immeasurable loss suffered by the loved ones of the victims of that attack or the terror inflicted on the El Paso community in its wake. Today’s action makes clear that the Justice Department will not tolerate hate-fueled violence that endangers the safety of our communities,” he said.
After his arrest, Crusius told investigators he targeted his victims because of they were Hispanic. He also said he intended to kill rather than wound everyone he shot.
“White nationalist-fueled violence has no place in our society today,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement.
“This senseless massacre violates the law, runs contrary to our values as Americans and defies the principles of tolerance and inclusion that define us as a nation. By pleading guilty, the defendant has admitted that he murdered innocent people based on their national origin and targeted Hispanics.”