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El Paso ‘standing strong’ after shopping center massacre

A gunman, now in custody, opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas on Saturday, killing 20, and wounding dozens of others. Texas Tribune reporter Julian Aguilar joins Hari Sreenivasan via Skype from El Paso for more on how the community is coping with the loss.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    For more on the Texas mass killing and the community's response today, Texas Tribune reporter Julian Aguilar joins us now via Skype from El Paso. What's the latest we have on the investigation?

  • Julian Aguilar:

    Well, earlier this morning the district attorney's office here in El Paso County confirmed that they will seek capital murder charges and the death penalty and that's going to go on concurrently with the federal investigation into possible domestic terrorism and hate crime charges. You had the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas as well as the special agent in charge of the El Paso office both confirming the fact that they're investigating potential leads to see if there are any federal gun charges that can be brought as well which also carries a penalty of death, what I understand. So these are concurrent investigations. So I mean state or federal level they're looking to throw the book at this guy whenever they can.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Yeah. So have they connected the online postings to this individual?

  • Julian Aguilar:

    They're very careful in their wording. They say that they have a manifesto, they're reviewing it. They just need to confirm that he is in fact the author or the person that published this. There's been several reports confirming this but the FBI and the U.S. Attorney, they're leaning towards that but they're still very very careful in their wording they don't want to jeopardize the investigation.

    El Paso Police Department Chief Greg Allen said look, you know as much as what's going on right now and people are so upset and enraged, the alleged shooter still has a right to a fair trial so I think they're being very careful in the wording so as not to jeopardize anything in the investigation, according to them.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    OK. And what about the community right now? I mean what about the victims? Is there any more information on who suffered through this?

  • Julian Aguilar:

    We've had reports that I think everybody else has. There are 20 confirmed fatalities which is what the governor confirmed yesterday, more than two dozen injured. But what the El Paso Police Department said on Saturday is that they still were unable to account for maybe people that actually drove themselves to the hospital. So that could add to the list of the people that are wounded. And of the 13 that were taken to one hospital on Saturday, one succumbed to his or her injuries.

    There's also reports from the Mexican federal authorities including the President Lopez Obrador that there are a number of Mexican nationals that were also killed in yesterday's attack. So it's you know there's a lot of hurdles to go through with respect to consulates and international policies and legal ease to confirm the amount.

    But that's also something that people are investigating. But with respect to the community people are lining up to donate blood or taking donations they are standing strong. It's definitely a community that's reeling as are people in Dayton, Ohio as are people that you know where this happens it seems like every month now.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    You know it is there. Yesterday I heard reports that there were some people who were reluctant to go to the hospital or either for themselves or to visit their relatives because they were concerned about immigration raids.

  • Julian Aguilar:

    Well a federal law enforcement said that they're not going to do enforcement actions during this time which is what we see during hurricanes or other disasters that affect a lot of people. We see this all the time in Texas, especially after the state passed the Senate Bill 4, which is a crackdown on illegal immigration or unauthorized immigration.

    It doesn't necessarily have to deal with the tragedy, I mean we've had people that have been on the books saying that they're scared to go to the doctor's office or the hospital for the last few years so in a situation like this it's helpful, it's reassuring that the federal government is on the table saying look we're not going to crack down on any enforcement measures right now we want everybody to be safe. But whether that trickles down to the people that could be affected, you know I can't speak for everybody but I'm sure there still is that fear factor even in situations like this.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right. Julian Aguilar joining us via Skype from El Paso. Thanks so much.

  • Julian Aguilar:

    Thank you.

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