The man suspected of murdering 22 people in a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday told investigators he was targeting “Mexicans” during his rampage, according to police.
In an arrest affidavit obtained and published by the Washington Post, El Paso Detective Adrian Garcia wrote that the suspect told him and another detective during an interview after his arrest that he had taken an AK-47 rifle and multiple bullet magazines into the store and opened fire.
“The defendant stated his target were ‘Mexicans,’” Garcia wrote.
According to the affidavit, when the man, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, was first placed under arrest, he also admitted to the shooting.
As authorities raced to the scene, they saw the suspect exit his vehicle “with his hands raised in the air and state out loud to the agents, ‘I’m the shooter.’”
Federal agents are investigating the El Paso shooting as a possible hate crime and act of domestic terrorism.
“The attack in El Paso, Texas, underscores the continued threat posed by domestic violent extremists and perpetrators of hate crimes,” said an FBI spokesperson.
El Paso police have said that before entering the Walmart, the suspect posted a manifesto to the anonymous message board 8chan in which he railed against Latinos and a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
Eight Mexican nationals were killed in the shooting in addition to 13 Americans and a German citizen. Six other Mexicans were injured.
The Mexican government has described the shooting as an act of terrorism against its citizens on US soil and vowed to take legal action.
“Mexico is outraged,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said earlier this week.