(UnitedVoice.com) – In August 2019, a domestic terrorist opened fire at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart as families bought school supplies for their children. The store was located near the US-Mexico border, and Mexican citizens often traveled across the international border to score good deals. The shooting left 23 people dead and injured 22 others. The families of the victims were finally able to confront the killer at his recent sentencing.
The sentencing hearing for 24-year-old Patrick Crusius began on July 5 in federal court. He pleaded guilty in February to 45 counts of using a firearm during a violent crime and 45 counts of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the federal hate crime statute. The killer set out on a rampage because he believed in the racist Great Replacement Theory, which theorizes that immigrants or other people of color are trying to replace white people as the majority. A federal judge sentenced him to 90 consecutive life sentences. Before the sentencing, people gave victim impact statements to the court.
Federal judge weighs victim impact statements during the sentencing stage of El Paso Walmart shooting hate crimes case.https://t.co/K2qBcNe9JI
— KTSM 9 News (@KTSMtv) July 6, 2023
Thomas Hoffman, whose father, Alexander Hoffman, died in the attack, spoke during the hearing, saying Crusius murdered his dad “in such a cowardly way.” Hoffman acknowledged the killer’s racism, saying, “[Hoffman Sr] was not a racist like you.” He went on to call the convicted murderer “an evil parasite.”
Kathy Johnson, the widow of David Johnson, told the court that nearly four years later, she still has days when she “cannot even get out of bed.” David died protecting Kathy and their 9-year-old granddaughter. Another of David’s relatives called Crusius a “monster” who has made him anxious to visit public places.
A girl who survived the shooting said she was once a “happy, normal teenager,” but that was destroyed when “a coward chose to use violence against the innocent.”
The killer still faces a trial in state court and could receive the death penalty.
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