A Closer Look into Defining Domestic Terror

2 years 5 months 3 weeks ago Monday, August 05 2019 Aug 5, 2019 August 05, 2019 10:52 PM August 05, 2019 in News - Local

WESLACO - The El Paso attack sparks heated discussions about how the case will be prosecuted.


Domestic terrorism, mass shootings and hate crimes: All terms we've heard over the past few days.


The FBI is treating the El Paso shooting as a domestic terrorism case, but their is no legal charge or definition for the words domestic terrorism.



Experts tell us the suspect in El Paso will probably  have a combination of state and federal charges.


One definition many law enforcement agencies agree onis  if there are three or more people killed in any one event, that would classify as a mass shooting or a mass incident.


That counts  incidents like family violence or neighborhood drive-by shootings.


Another classification of a mass shooting can be what happened in El Paso, it is believed to be  random, in that case only 18 similar  mass shootings happened this year.


It all depends on which definition of mass shooting you look at.


Domestic terrorism, another term that is not clear and not a charge.

There is no actual charge for domestic terrorism unless it involves a foreign entity, so in incidents like El Paso which involved an alleged citizen attacking his fellow citizens, the suspect will get state charges for the homicides.

In terms of federal charges, the suspect can't be charged with domestic terrorism because of the current criminal code.

Instead other approaches will be used such as a hate crime charge.

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