By Alice Zhong
EL PASO — A 21-year-old gunman armed with a powerful rifle turned a crowded Walmart store in this majority-Hispanic border city into a scene of chaos and bloodshed on Saturday, stalking shoppers in the aisles in an attack that left at least 20 people dead and 26 others wounded, the authorities said.
For several minutes late on Saturday morning, the packed Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall on the city’s East Side filled with gun smoke and the echo of gunfire. Workers and customers, some bloodied, fled out the doors. Others huddled in the aisles or on the ground.
Manuel Uruchurtu, 20, had just paid at the cash register and was walking out of the store when he heard the sound of shots. He turned around and saw the gunman holding a long gun and wearing what looked like shoulder pads. As Mr. Uruchurtu fled the store, he saw two bodies on the ground outside, one surrounded by a pool of blood.
“Texas grieves for the people of El Paso today,” the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, told reporters. “On a day that would have been a normal day for someone to leisurely go shopping, turned into one of the deadliest days in the history of Texas.”
This shooting came six days after a gunman killed three people at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California. In addition, In that shooting, the gunman shot and killed himself after exchanging gunfire with the police. The massacre in El Paso was the deadliest American mass shooting since 26 people were killed in a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
As a response towards the shooting, President Trump was briefed on the shooting, and administration officials said they were monitoring the situation. “Terrible shootings in El Paso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. God be with you all!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
The shooting is the 21st mass killings in the United States in 2019, and the fifth public mass shootings. Before Saturday, 96 people died in mass killings in 2019 — 26 of them in public mass shootings. Based on the daily news and data provided, people became afraid of going out and personal safety.