An El Paso, TX Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall was the scene of multiple active shooters on Saturday afternoon, the El Paso Police Department said. The scene was marked as active by the police on their official Twitter account at 12:03 p.m. CT, and stayed that way for more than an hour. Police Sgt. Enrique Castillo said that there were multiple reports of shots fired, both in Walmart and in the mall, in a press briefing. Three suspects are in custody, Mayor Dee Margo told CNN, while Castillo told the press that the police had one suspect in custody and another detained. Police are continuing a large search of the mall area, to find those sheltered in place.
Scene is still Active. We have multi reports of multiple shooters. Please avoid area police conducting search of a very large area. Media staging will be given when area is secure.
— EL PASO POLICE DEPT (@EPPOLICE) August 3, 2019
Olivia Zepeda, chief of staff to El Paso’s mayor, said multiple people were killed, according to CNN. Castillo also said multiple victims were heading to local hospitals, which Del Sol Medical Center spokesperson Victor Guerrero confirmed to CNN, saying that 11 people were transferred there. The police have not yet released the number injured or killed.
Three nearby restaurants are reportedly on lockdown. Police urged the public to stay away from the mall.
According to Gov. Greg Abbott, the Texas Department of Public Safety and federal law enforcement were on the site, assisting local law enforcement. In a statement, Abbott said that Texas Rangers, troopers, special agents, tactical teams, and aircrafts had also all been deployed by the state "in a support role."
Statement on shooting in El Paso: pic.twitter.com/hsCXYGNLGg
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) August 3, 2019
Texas state Rep. Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, said she is monitoring the situation.
Utterly heartbroken by the developing news in El Paso. Monitoring the situation and in communication with our law enforcement. Please stay safe.
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) August 3, 2019
Former congressman and presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who resides in El Paso, urged the city to stay safe. And in a televised statement, O’Rourke announced he was returning to the city immediately. He held back tears as he discussed the shooting, saying, "We know that [there’s] a lot of injury, a lot of suffering in El Paso right now, and I’m incredibly saddened, it’s very hard to think about this."
Truly heartbreaking. Stay safe, El Paso. Please follow all directions of emergency personnel as we continue to get more updates. https://t.co/BU0AH6Y8Rv
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 3, 2019
Walmart acknowledged the shooting in a statement, saying the company is "in shock" and working with law enforcement.
We’re in shock over the tragic events at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, where store 2201 & club 6502 are located. We’re praying for the victims, the community & our associates, as well as the first responders. We’re working closely with law enforcement & will update as appropriate.
— Walmart (@Walmart) August 3, 2019
This is a breaking news story. We will update with additional details as they become available.
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Source: Refinery29 – Courtney E. Smith