On Aug. 3 just after 10 am [CST], a mass shooting occurred at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Two days after the shooting, police have reported that two of the severely wounded victims have passed. As a result of the shooting, dozens were left injured and now the death toll currently stands at 22. The police were able to apprehend the suspect, a 21-year-old from suburban Dallas, who was seen on surveillance footage walking into the storefront of the Walmart with earmuffs on and assault rifle in hand. After the attack, the suspected gunman turned himself in to an officer who was securing the area. This has been reported as one of the worst mass shootings in the United States of America.
The officer who arrested the shooter told CNN that the individual had a “stone-cold look” when he surrendered. Quoted by CNN: “It was a look I’d never seen before, and I’ve been on this force for 31 years,” the officer said. “I’ve seen murderers, robbers, nothing like this.”
CNN anchor, Wolf Blitzer was able to get in touch with Army Specialist (SPC) Glendon Oakley on the day of the attack. SPC Oakley expounded, “I was in a sports store buying a jersey and a little kid ran in there and was telling us there was an active shooter in Walmart. But me and the cashier didn’t pay no attention at first because for one, it was just a little kid, and for two, you’re at the mall, not the Walmart so how do you know that? So, I walked to Footlocker and I just heard two gunshots and a whole bunch of people just started running around and screaming.” SPC Oakley then made it his mission to rescue as many kids as possible who were lost in the chaos.
On Aug. 5, in an emotional interview with TRT World, SPC Oakley told the reporter, “I didn’t get any sleep last night. I don’t want to think about what happened because it was a tragedy. This was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life and I don’t want to keep having flashbacks of what happened… I’m just focused on the kids that I could not get and the families that were lost because it hurts me like they were a part of me.”
Another witness interviewed by CBS This Morning, Army Specialist Alden Hall, described the situation he was in when the shooting occurred in Walmart. While in disbelief, SPC Hall was recording the incident inside the store during the attack. When asked about the timing of the gunshots after the recording stopped, he stated, “Approximately four seconds after and it hit the guy next to me.” National Correspondent David Begnaud asked then asked how close the person was in proximity to him, SPC Hall proclaimed that it was within arm’s reach. Concluding the interview, SPC Hall claimed that his fight or flight state of mind kept him alive.
There are several videos posted on social media that captured the chaotic situation. In one video, two individuals are hiding under what appears to be a food aisle as loud gunshots echoed throughout the area. Another video shows the wounded being cared for outside of the Walmart.
Immediately after the suspect was apprehended and the scene was controlled by police, hundreds of people lined up at blood drives in the area. A video posted on social media shows people handing out food as well as beverages to support those donating blood. Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke attended the blood drives and offered his support.
The shooter has been charged with capital murder and will be held without bond according to court records. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for the suspected gunman.
Bellevue College President, Jerry Weber, expressed his condolences in an email to all members of Bellevue College on Aug. 5. He states, “To our LatinX colleagues, students and friends in particular, I want you to know that we stand with you, and are here for you.” In addition to this, President Weber listed points of contact for emotional support that Bellevue College students and faculty can use if needed.
Per BC President Weber’s email to students and staff:
[For emotional support services, students can contact our Counseling Center which is located on the second floor of the B Building, or by phone at (425) 564-5747. Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at (877) 313-4455. Other services that might be of help to students is Multicultural Services located on the second floor of the B Building, (425) 564-2208.]