A 21-year-old Texas man accused of gunning down more than 20 people at a busy Walmart in El Paso last month was indicted Thursday on a charge of capital murder, prosecutors announced.

El Paso prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Patrick Crusius, who remains jailed without bond in connection with the Aug. 3 shooting, in which 22 were killed and 24 injured. Federal prosecutors have said they are weighing hate-crime charges against the suspect that could also carry the death penalty.

The El Paso County District Clerk's office said Crusius' indictment would not be publicly available until next week because it takes a few days to process, and to assign the case to a court.

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Crusius' family issued a statement through their lawyer: “It is important to respect the rule of law, including the grand jury’s decision and the district attorney’s office,” the statement read. “There is a legal path forward that will now allow justice to become clear."


Crusius' defense lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday. Attorney Mark Stevens previously said he will use "every legal tool available" to prevent his client from being executed.

Crusius drove more than 10 hours from his hometown of Allen, near Dallas to carry out the shooting, police said. The victims ranged in age from 15 to 90. Eight of them were Mexican nationals.

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Prosecutors have said Crusius surrendered to police after the attack saying, "I'm the shooter," and that he was targeting Mexicans. In court documents, prosecutors alleged that Crusius was the author of a racist screed published shortly before the shooting that said it was "in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas." Most of the victims of the attack had Hispanic last names.

The El Paso massacre was the first in a series of mass shootings last month that left dozens dead and reignited the debate over gun control in the U.S.

Less than 24 hours after the El Paso massacre, a masked gunman began shooting in a nightlife district of Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people and injuring 27 more. Then weeks later, a man killed seven people and wounded about two dozen others while firing from a car in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa. The gunmen in both those attacks were killed by police.

The recent violence has fueled anger among gun control and immigration advocates and caused political blowback.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledged weeks after the attack that "mistakes were made" when he sent a fundraising mailer encouraging supporters to "take matters into our own hands" and "DEFEND" Texas. Abbott has pledged to invest in a domestic terrorism task force and has suggested he would support an expansion of firearm sbackground checks. But he has resisted calls to regulate the sale of military-style rifles like the one authorities say Crusius used in El Paso.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick drew the ire of the NRA last week after expressed support for background checks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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