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Army solider hailed as hero in El Paso shooting: It's 'the worst thing I've ever been through'

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ABC NewsEL PASO, TX) — An off-duty Army serviceman is being celebrated as a hero after he saved the lives of several children during Saturday’s deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, but the soldier says he doesn’t want the world to focus on him.

“What I did was exactly what I was supposed to do. I understand it was heroic and I’m looked at as a hero for it, but that wasn’t the reason for me,” U.S. Army solider Glendon Oakley said Sunday, before breaking down in tears. “I’m just focused on the kids that I could not [save] and the families. It hurts me. I feel like they were a part of me. I don’t even know the people that died or the kids that I took with me.”

Oakley, a 22-year-old automated logistical specialist stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, was shopping at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso on Saturday morning when a young child ran up to him, saying there was a shooter at the nearby Walmart. Oakley said he didn’t take the boy’s claims seriously at first, but knew it was real when he began to hear gunfire. He said he immediately went into combat mode and began to grab as many children as he could to get them out of harm’s way.

“I did that because that’s what I was trained to do. That is what the military has taught me to do,” he told reporters Sunday. “But I really want you guys to focus on the people that are actually grieving through this. Yes, I’m grieving, but I’m not the one that lost a family member. Yes, it feels like I have lost one. But they are the ones that need to be the [focus].”

Oakley refused to offer details about the “tragic” scene he witnessed, but he called it “the worst thing” he’s ever seen.

“I’m not describing anything,” he said. “I didn’t get any sleep last night. I don’t want to think about what happened because it was tragic. I’m telling you this was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life. And I don’t want to keep having flashbacks of what happened.”

“I don’t I don’t want to talk about what went on there because I just want to forget about it all. I just want to focus on the people that lost their loved ones…I’m already suffering from this. I don’t want to continue to suffer from it,” he added.

At least 20 people were killed and 26 others were injured in the El Paso Walmart shooting, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. The youngest victim was 2 years old.

The suspected gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, of Allen, Texas, was being held on a charge of capital murder, court records show.

The shooting is being investigates as domestic terrorism.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'You cannot cure hatred with hatred,' says soccer mom who was shot twice in El Paso massacre

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ABC News(EL PASO, TX) — Maribel Latín was shot twice in Saturday’s massacre in El Paso — yet she refuses to carry hate in her heart.

From her hospital bed, the soccer mom recounted the harrowing details of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

Twenty people were killed and 26 others were injured at an El Paso Walmart by suspected gunman Patrick Crusius, 21, hours after police say he may have posted a virulent anti-immigration screed online. Crusius, who was apprehended, is being held on capital murder charges.

On Saturday morning Latín was raising money for her daughter’s soccer team outside the Walmart when the gunman started firing.

“He shot at us, individually, trying to get us individually,” she told ABC News. “And then he came walking toward us to make sure we all got shot again and killed.”

“He shot eight more rounds, and all I could say was, ‘God, please take care of my children and please don’t let him do anything to [my daughter],’” Latín said.

“He was the calmest person ever,” she said of the gunman. “He didn’t say anything, just plain hatred and anger.”

The gunman shot Latín in her arm and foot while firing at others, including her friend Norma Coca’s daughter and son-in-law.

“The grandkids saw everything — the ladies dying, their parents getting shot,” Coca said.

“My mommy, my mommy got shot,” Coca said her 10-year-old granddaughter told her.

“The girls were crying, they were asking about their dads and their moms, and I knew where their dads were,” Latín recalled with tears in her eyes. Many of the other parents were shot as well, she said.

“They saw things that children their ages — no children in any world should see that,” Latín said.

And yet when asked what message she would send to the gunman, Latín was forgiving.

“You cannot cure hatred with hatred,” she said. “I want something good to come out of this.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

There have been at least 17 deadly mass shootings in the US so far in 2019

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — Two mass shootings in the span of 14 hours over the weekend have left at least 29 victims dead.

The two shootings, first in El Paso, Texas, and then in Dayton, Ohio, are the latest instances of deadly mass shootings in 2019, bringing the total number of such incidents up to at least 17 — an average of one every 12.7 days this year.

The FBI doesn’t have an official definition of a mass shooting, but defines a mass killing as an incident in which three or more people, not including the suspect, are killed. Various groups and watchdog organizations keep their own lists, often using different criteria for what qualifies as a mass shooting. The Gun Violence Archive, for example, counts mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people were shot or killed, and by this criteria, Dayton is the 251st mass shooting this year.

For the list compiled by ABC News below, the incidents took place over the course of a day and involved four or more victims, not including the suspect, who died as a result of gunshot wounds. For instance, shooting sprees that spanned longer amounts of time were not included on this list.

Of the 17 deadly mass shootings that occurred so far in 2019, the first 10 took place through May. At that point, even though there had been more such incidents in the first five months of 2019 than in the same period in 2018, the number of fatalities was exactly the same: 51 victims killed.

Now, two months later and more than halfway through the year, the total number of victims has risen to 102 total victim fatalities.

1. Jan. 23: Shooting at a Florida bank, 5 victims

Five people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida, police said.

The 21-year-old suspect, Zephan Xaver, barricaded himself inside before later surrendering to authorities, police said.

“I have shot five people,” Xaver allegedly told 911 dispatchers, according to a joint statement released by the Highland County Sheriff’s Office and Sebring Police Department.

Xaver had been hired by Avon Park Correctional Institution on Nov. 2 and was training to be a correctional officer when he resigned on Jan. 9, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. Xaver had no disciplinary incidents while employed with the department.

2. Jan. 24: Shooting in Georgia before suspect flees the state, 4 victims

After allegedly shooting three people at two scenes in Rockmart, Georgia, a suspect was later found and taken into custody in Indiana.

At the first scene, 27-year-old suspect Daylon Delon Gamble allegedly shot three people, two of whom died, and then went to another scene and shot and killed two others, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

3. Jan. 26: Domestic violence incident in Louisiana, 5 victims

An “armed and dangerous” 21-year-old man from Louisiana who allegedly fatally shot his parents, girlfriend, her father and her brother, was captured outside his grandmother’s house in Virginia, authorities said.

Dakota Theriot was wanted on multiple counts of first-degree murder, home invasion and weapons charges stemming from a killing spree that began in Livingston Parish, Louisiana — just east of the state capital, Baton Rouge — and continued at his parents’ trailer in Ascension Parish.

“He was very sleep deprived,” Richmond County Sheriff Steve Smith told ABC News. “Once put in our booking room, he went straight to sleep… he seemed a little disoriented.”

4. Feb. 3: Palm Springs, California: 4 victims

A suspect was apprehended days after the shooting deaths of three teenagers and a man in the Palm Springs area.

The Desert Sun newspaper published a timeline surrounding the shootings, which states that at least two of the victims had been talking about a robbery plot earlier in the day of the shooting, and then they and a friend were found dead later at a trail, with the 4th victim found later on that day.

5. Feb. 11: Domestic incident involving a child victim in Texas, 4 victims

A 15-month-old girl, the child’s parents and the child’s grandparents were all found dead on a property in Polk County.

“This is a horrible, horrific scene – a horrible, horrific crime,” Polk County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Byron Lyons said in a news conference at the time, as ABC affiliate KTRK reported.

The toddler, Ranley Horn, was found outside near her mother Ashley Horn, 27, and Ashley’s grandmother, Linda Delaney, 72.

Inside the home, investigators found Linda’s husband Carlos Danley, 74, and Randy Horn, 54, who is also a relative.

No suspect was ever arrested, though the sheriff’s office confirmed that they are not actively looking for a suspect, implying but not directly stating that the case was considered a murder-suicide. It is not immediately clear and has not been released publicly who investigators believe was the suspect in the shooting.

6. Feb. 15: Shooting at a manufacturing plant in Illinois: 5 victims

Five victims were killed and five police officers were injured by gunfire in Aurora, Illinois, when an apparently disgruntled employee at an industrial warehouse opened fire after being told he was being fired from the job where he had worked for 15 years, according to authorities.

The gunman, identified as Gary Martin, 45, was killed by responding police officers, according to Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman.

The shooting unfolded at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, a town about 40 miles west of Chicago.

7. Feb. 16: Mississippi hostage situation turns deadly, 4 victims

Police used a battering ram to force themselves into a home in Clinton, Mississippi, after responding to a call about a domestic disturbance, The Associated Press reported.

When they entered the home, police found four dead victims and the suspect, Nam Le, wounded. The suspect later died after being transported to a local hospital.

Le fired upon officers when they arrived at the home, leading to a standoff. The AP reported that two small children were released unharmed from the home during the standoff, and the relationship between the suspect and his victims, who ranged in age from 28 years old to 65 years old, was not immediately released.

8. April 28: Shooting in Ohio, 4 victims

Four relatives were found shot dead inside an apartment in West Chester, Ohio. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, but police have told local reporters that it is being classified as a homicide.

The victims were identified by police as the apartment owners Hakiakat Singh Pannag, 59, his wife Parmjit Kaur, 62, their daughter Shalinderkit Kaur, 39, and Parmjit Kaur’s sister Amarjit Kaur, 58, according to The Journal-News.

Police responded to the scene after receiving a call from Shalinderkit Kaur’s husband, Gurpeet Singh, who called 911 after finding the bloody scene, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

9. May 13: Shooting in Missouri, 4 victims

A brawl inside a St. Louis home reportedly led to a gun battle where five victims in their 20s and 30s were shot, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Of those, three victims were found dead at the scene and the fourth died later as a result of their injuries, the newspaper reported.

Initial reports suggested that the four deceased men were related.

The home where the shooting occurred is reportedly in a part of town called Hayden’s Rectangle, which the newspaper said is an area that has been the focus of crime fighting efforts in the past.

10. May 31: Workplace shooting in Virginia Beach, 12 victims

The shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach was the deadliest of the year in 2019, with 12 victims meeting their end.

The specific motive of the suspect, who was believed to be a disgruntled employee, remains unknown at this time as police continue to investigate the shooting.

The suspect, DeWayne Craddock, allegedly used two .45-caliber pistols in the rampage and law enforcement officials reported that both guns were purchased legally by the suspect.

11. June 8: Apparent robbery turned deadly on tribal lands in Washington, 5 victims

The shooting took place on the Native American Yakama Indian Reservation in central Washington and a motive was not immediately clear, according to local newspaper The Spokesman-Review. Two suspects, both of whom were members of the Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakama Nation, were named and charged in the shootings.

The Spokesman-Review details how the pair shot and killed four people at one property as part of an apparent robbery and a fifth victim was found in a car that the pair had stolen to escape.

12. June 23: Man fatally shoots relatives and others in San Jose, 4 victims

Police investigated a quadruple murder-suicide in San Jose after a man fatally shot three women and a man before killing himself.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that police believed the shooting was tied to a family conflicts.

A neighbor of the shooter, 66, said that the suspect’s wife jumped the fence from their home and ran into the neighbor’s home.

13. July 6: Shooting at an apartment building in St Louis, 5 victims

Five people were found shot dead in a St. Louis apartment building and the motive and suspect were not immediately clear.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that a sixth person was with the group on Friday night before leaving, and when that person returned at around noon on Saturday, they found the group fatally shot.

The victims range in age between 37 and 65 years old, the paper reported.

14. July 25, Los Angeles shooting spree: 4 victims

A man was apprehended in connection to a shooting spree that left four dead over the course of a day in California’s San Fernando Valley.

The shooter allegedly fatally shot his father and brother and injured his mother, before going to a nearby gas station where he fatally shot a female acquaintance and injured a man.

The fourth fatality came several hours later when the suspect allegedly fatally shot a person on the public bus.

The motive was not immediately clear but sources have suggested that the suspect had prior issues with his family.

15. July 28, Shooting incident with two scenes in Wisconsin: 4 victims

A 911 call led officials from the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department to a residence where they found two dead adults who had been killed as a result of gunshot wounds.

Officials then went to the residence of one of those two victims, where they found three other victims. Law enforcement officials have ruled that the scene with three vicitms was a homicide scene, and the other scene was a murder-homicide. There was a total of five fatalities, but authorities believe that one was that of the perpetrator, though they did not immediately release the names or ages of those involved.

The sheriff sent out a press release the day after the discovery of the bodies and said that the public was not in harm’s way.

16. Aug. 3, Shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas: 20 victims

The suspect who opened fire at an El Paso Walmart was identified by authorities as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, and he was “taken into custody without incident” and without any law enforcement officers firing their weapons, according to El Paso Police Department Sgt. Robert Gomez. He later told investigators he wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible, two law enforcement officials told ABC News.

Wounded victims ranged in age from 2 to 82.

Officials also said an assault-style rifle, similar to an AK-47, was secured at the scene along with several magazines.

El Paso police chief Greg Allen said during a news conference Saturday night that at least 20 people had died and 26 more had been injured. Allen said authorities are examining what he called a “manifesto” that they believe was written by the shooter and shows a possible “nexus” to a hate crime.

17. Aug. 4, Dayton shooting: 9 victims

The second mass shooting in a span of less than 14 hours, at least nine people were killed and more than two dozen were wounded early on Sunday after a suspect opened fire in downtown Dayton, Ohio, according to police.

The suspected shooter was shot and killed by responding officers “in less than a minute” after opening fire, Mayor Nan Whaley said at a Sunday morning press conference. Police said they were only aware of one shooter.

Authorities responded quickly to the shooting, first reported at 1 a.m., and said police are regularly present in the crowded district popular with tourists and locals.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

A bloody August weekend included 2 mass shootings within 15 hours

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aijohn784/iStock(NEW YORK) — It has been a bloody August weekend in the United States with multiple shootings reported across the country, including two mass shootings — one in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning and one in Dayton, Ohio, Sunday morning — that left at least 29 people dead, collectively.

In El Paso, at least 20 people were killed and dozens more injured on Saturday morning during a massacre at a Walmart that was packed with back-to-school shoppers, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, officials said. The wounded ranged in age from a 2-year-old child to an 82-year-old victim.

The suspect was identified by authorities as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas. He is being held on a charge of capital murder, court records show.

Less than 15 hours later, in Dayton, at least nine people were killed and 27 injured after a gunman wearing body armor and wielding an AK-47-style assault rifle opened fire in in the bustling Oregon District of Dayton, Mayor Nan Whaley told ABC News.

The suspected shooter was shot and killed by responding officers “in less than a minute” after opening fire, Whaley said. Police said they were only aware of one shooter.

In addition to Texas and Ohio, gun deaths were also reported in multiple other states, including Illinois, Virginia, Louisiana, Florida and Maryland.

In Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that since Friday evening at least three people have been killed and 37 more injured in shootings within city limits, including 22 people shot Sunday in less than four hours.

According to the ABC News affiliate KATC-TV, an infant in Shreveport, Louisiana, was shot and killed Saturday in a drive-by shooting. Shreveport Police said a vehicle drove by and began shooting into a home, striking the one-month-old girl, who was pronounced dead.

In Maryland, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said on Saturday, officers responded to a call that a 42-year-old southern Maryland man had shot and killed his in-laws. Police said relatives arrived and the suspect Mark Hughes then shot at an 11-year-old boy, who fled the scene and was later treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, and then Hughes fled himself.

Hughes was later found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the sheriff’s office.

A few hours later in Florida, Pinellas County Sheriff deputies shot and killed a 35-year-old man after police said he had pointed a 12-guage shotgun at them. The man was a suspect in the fatal shooting of his mother, according to the sheriff’s office.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Police closer to linking anti-immigrant screed to El Paso shooter

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ABC News(EL PASO, TX) — Authorities suspect a virulent anti-immigration screed posted online before the El Paso shooting was written by the alleged gunman, a top police official indicated Sunday.

Asked whether the attack was a hate crime, El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen told reporters during a news conference Sunday that authorities were still working to conclusively attribute what he called the “manifesto” to the attack, but said “it’s beginning to look more solidly like that is the case.”

The four-page document was reportedly posted to online message boards less than an hour before the suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, purportedly gunned down at least 20 people and injuring 26 others at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday.

The document decried what the author believed was an ongoing “invasion” of Texas by Hispanic people and what the author foresaw as the impending destruction of America. It suggested that the planned attack would give immigrants additional incentive to return to their countries of origin.

Though the author indicated he did not consider himself a white supremacist, the document lambasted “race mixers” and said the U.S. should be split into territories based on race. While the document was critical of Republicans, it accused Democrats of using immigrants to engineer a nation-wide political coup.

In the wake of the shooting, prominent critics of President Donald Trump accused the president of using language, like the word “invasion,” that has emboldened racists and white supremacists. The document posted online predicted the attack would be connected to Trump’s rhetoric, and the author said that his ideology predated Trump and hadn’t changed for years.

On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney referenced the document to make a similar point, saying, “This was a sick person… no politician is to blame for that.”

Other defenders of the president said Trump should not be blamed for mass shootings, which have long been a problem in the U.S. “Finger-pointing, name-calling & screaming with your keyboards is easy, yet it solves not a single problem, saves not a single life,” senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway tweeted on Sunday.

John Cohen, a former senior Department of Homeland Security official and current ABC News contributor, said he’s concerned the president’s rhetoric could still be a factor in extremist attacks in the U.S.

Cohen said that while Trump’s hardline on immigration and incendiary rhetoric can mobilize and inspire his political base, “where this gets dangerous” is when it “may also serve to empower and inspire mentally unwell, violence-prone individuals who view the president’s words as giving them permission to commit acts of violence.”

The document linked to the suspect appears to describe one of the weapons used in the shooting and goes into detail about the lethality of various assault rifle-style weapons and ammunition. It says that the attacker had been planning the assault for less than a month, which Cohen said underlines the challenge faced by law enforcement when it comes to discovering and stopping such plots.

“It’s what the FBI and the Secret Service call ‘from flash to bang,’” Cohen said of the time between someone suddenly deciding to act and acting. “You can have somebody who’s anger is simmering for years, and then all of the sudden they hear something or something happens in their lives and they decide to act.

In the document, the would-be attacker says that he would not be taken alive by police and feared having to live through a trial and receiving the death penalty.

Crusius was captured by police after the shooting and a local prosecutor announced that he would file capital murder charges.

John Bash, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said Sunday that federal authorities are investigating the incident as an act of “domestic terrorism,” meaning the suspect was allegedly intent on “coercing and intimidating a civilian population.”

Bash said federal authorities are also considering bringing hate crimes and federal firearms charges against Crusius that carry the penalty of death.

The mass shooting came less than 15 hours before another gunman killed nine people and wounded more than two dozen others in a popular business district in Dayton, Ohio.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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