As Grieving Begins, Authorities Seek Answers in El Paso, Dayton Shootings

Following a massacre at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday that killed 20 people and left at least 26 others injured, shocked and grieving Americans woke up Sunday to news of a second mass shooting overnight in Dayton, Ohio.

Yesterday’s new cycle was focused on a how a 21-year-old gunman from a Dallas suburb opened fire in the border city of El Paso, spraying bullets in an attack that took the lives of children, women and men, many who were going about their weekend shopping routine when the attack began around 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Police took the gunman into custody without resistance.

The Dayton, Ohio shooter opened fire in a popular downtown nightclub and restaurant district around 1 a.m. The gunman, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, killed 9 people and left another 27 injured. He was shot and killed by police, who have a heavy presence in the area, within a minute after the shooting began.

President Trump, who had already made statements on Saturday expressing full federal support to Texas officials, tweeted on Sunday morning that “FBI, local and state law enforcement” were collaborating in both cities. He praised law enforcement’s quick response in both shootings.

“God bless the people of El Paso, Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio,” the president wrote on Twitter at 7:16 a.m. Sunday as many people were waking to news of the second shooting.

The El Paso shooting raises questions of domestic terrorism, with reports the gunman may have published a white supremacist manifesto similar to the one shared by a shooter who killed 49 people in two mosques back on March 15 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Authorities in Dayton had not commented on possible motives for the gunman there.

Franklin Graham posted Saturday on Facebook: “Our hearts break for the residents of El Paso, Texas. Please join me in praying for the grieving families whose loved ones were killed today and for the nearly two dozen more who are injured and being treated in nearby hospitals. Even the youngest of children were not spared from this senseless evil. Unbelievably, all at a local Walmart. I join with Governor Greg Abbott who said, ‘We ask God to bind up the wounds of all who’ve been harmed.’ We have sent Rapid Response Team chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to the area to help.”

In Dayton, a Sunday night community vigil was planned. In El Paso, Immanuel Baptist Church, located only several minutes from the shooting scene, posted this Saturday to its Facebook page: “We will host a Candlelight Prayer Vigil open to all at 7:30 pm on Monday evening, August 5. Let us join together in faith and prayer and lift up all individuals and families affected in this tragedy. We are united in God.”

In custody in El Paso is Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas. Dayton authorities released the identity of the deceased shooter as Connor Betts, 24. Among the dead victims: His younger sister, Megan, the AP reported.

The Ohio shootings marked the 22nd mass shooting in the United States this year where there were more than four victims, not including perpetrators, according to the AP/USA Today/Northeastern University mass murder database that tracks such attacks.

On July 28, a 19-year-old shot and killed three people at a Northern California garlic festival, including two children.

Photo: Justin Hamel/UPI/Newscom