(CNN)It took the first officer six minutes to arrive to an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday morning after reports of an active shooter.
By then, a massacre that would become one of the 10 deadliest in modern US history had already unfolded. A 21-year-old white supremacist is suspected of killing at least 20 people and injuring 26 others in the shooting — one of at least three to devastate residents across the US in the past week.
Shocked shoppers slid under tables, others ran for their lives, one mother shielded her infant from the spray of bullets while another ran away with her 7-year-old daughter.
The suspect — who sources identified to CNN as Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas — has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond, El Paso Police Sgt. Robert Gomez said. He was arrested without incident Saturday after getting out of his vehicle and approaching police unarmed as they arrived at the Walmart. He has been cooperating with authorities, Gomez said.
As El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen walked into the shooting’s aftermath, the scene was “horrific,” he said.
“When I first got to this job,” he said, “I never knew there was an odor to blood, but there is … It will leave an impression that you’ll never forget.”
Suspect wrote a ‘manifesto’ police say
Authorities are now investigating a racist, anti-immigrant document they believe was posted online by the suspect. That document states it took less than a month to plan the shooting.
It was published on the online message board 8chan about 20 minutes before the shooting started. It lays out a dark vision of America overrun by Hispanic immigrants.
The 2,300-word “manifesto,” as police called it, was attached to a post that read: “I’m probably going to die today.”
The document is filled with white supremacist language and racist hatred aimed at immigrants and Latinos and blames immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs.
The writer cited a fear that an influential Hispanic population in Texas would make the state a “Democratic stronghold” and said “the Republican Party is also terrible” because the GOP is in his mind pro-corporation, which could lead to more immigration.
The writer said he held these beliefs before Donald Trump became President.
He could face the death penalty
Federal authorities are treating the shooting as a case of domestic terrorism, the US Attorney for the Western District of Texas said Sunday, as it seems to fit the statutory domestic terrorism definition. It “appears to be designed to intimidate a civilian population, to say the least,” US Attorney John Bash said.
The Justice Department is also “seriously considering” bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges, which carry a possible death penalty, he said.
“We’re going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is to deliver swift and certain justice,” US Attorney John Bash said.
FBI orders scouring for more mass shooting threats
Following a week of deadly shootings in Texas, Ohio and California, FBI Director Chris Wray ordered the agency’s offices across the country to conduct a new threat assessment in an effort to thwart future mass attacks, law enforcement sources told CNN.
A command group at the bureau’s Washington headquarters will oversee the effort, the sources said.
The agency also said it’s concerned that these and other attacks may inspire US-based domestic violent extremists to “engage in similar acts of violence.”
“The FBI asks the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online,” the FBI said in a Sunday statement.
The FBI already established a “fusion cell” this past spring to focus on white supremacists and hate crimes.
“Composed of subject matter experts from both the Criminal Investigative and Counterterrorism Divisions, the fusion cell offers program coordination from FBI Headquarters, helps ensure seamless information sharing across divisions, and augments investigative resources,” the FBI said in their Sunday statement.
Among the victims was a mother shielding her baby
Police are still in the process of notifying the families of victims in the El Paso shooting, Sergeant Robert Gomez said, adding authorities will not name any victims until all families have been notified. Police have said only that the victims are different ages and genders.
Some families have begun sharing their loved ones’ stories.
Jordan and Andre Anchondo were shopping for school supplies in Walmart Saturday after dropping off their 5-year-old daughter to cheer practice.