EL PASO, TX. (NBC News) – A gunman opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas Saturday morning. Law enforcement sources told NBC News at least 19 people are dead, many are injured and one person has been arrested following the shooting.
Sources say the suspect is 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Dallas.
Police said the first 911 calls came in around 10 a.m. local time. They also said people reported hearing shots in a mall which sits just yards from the Walmart. Swat teams were seen searching that shopping center as well.
Witnesses say Crusius was armed with a rifle.
Speaking to reporters, El Paso police Sgt. Robert Gomez said there likely would be more deaths to report later, but he could not yet confirm them. He said most of the shootings happened at a Walmart at the Cielo Vista Mall shopping complex and that the store was at capacity with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school shopping season.
“This is unprecedented in El Paso,” Gomez said.
The mass shooting in El Paso came less than a week after a gunman opened fire on a California food festival. Santino William Legan, 19, killed three people and injured 13 others last Sunday at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival, and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for University Medical Center of El Paso, said 12 people were brought to the hospital with injuries, including one that died. Two of the injured were children who were being transferred to El Paso Children’s Hospital, he said. He declined to provide additional details on the victims.
Eleven other victims were being treated at Del Sol Medical Center, according to hospital spokesman Victor Guerrero. He said those victims ages ranged from 35 to 82.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting “a heinous and senseless act of violence” and said the state had deployed a number of law enforcement officers to the city.
Police said by midafternoon that the suspect was in custody and the public was no longer in danger. Gomez said the suspect, who used a rifle, was arrested without incident. Police believe he was the “sole shooter” but are continuing to investigate reports that others were involved.
El Paso, which has about 680,000 residents, is in West Texas and sits across the border from Juarez, Mexico.