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Texas Walmart shooter agrees to pay more than $5M to families over 2019 racist attack

4 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago Monday, September 25 2023 Sep 25, 2023 September 25, 2023 12:37 PM September 25, 2023 in News
Source: apnews.com
By: By PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press
FILE - El Paso Walmart shooting suspect Patrick Crusius pleads not guilty during his arraignment, Oct. 10, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. On Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, Crusius, the white gunman who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Texas Walmart in 2019, agreed to pay more than $5 million to families of the victims. (Briana Sanchez/The El Paso Times via AP, Pool, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A white Texas gunman who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in 2019 agreed Monday to pay more than $5 million to families of the victims.

Patrick Crusius was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences in July after pleading guilty to federal hate crime charges following one of the nation's worst mass killings. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama signed off on the amount that Crusius must pay in restitution.

Crusius still faces a separate trial in a Texas court that could end with him getting the death penalty.

Police say Crusius drove more than 700 miles from his home near Dallas to target Hispanics with an AK-style rifle inside and outside the store. Moments before the attack began, Crusius posted a racist screed online that warned of a Hispanic "invasion" of Texas.

Crusius pleaded guilty in February after federal prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. But Texas prosecutors have said they will try to put Crusius on death row when he stands trial in state court. That trial date has not yet been set.

Under the agreement between Crusius and the government, Crusius will pay $5,557,005.55.

Joe Spencer, an attorney for Crusius, and a spokesperson for the Justice Department did not immediately return messages Monday. Both sides had filed a joint agreement with the court, which was then approved by Guaderrama.

In January, the Justice Department proposed changes to how it runs federal prisoners' deposit accounts in an effort to ensure victims are paid restitution, including from some high-profile inmates with large balances. The move came as the Justice Department faced increased scrutiny after revelations that several high-profile inmates kept large sums of money in their prison accounts but only made minimal payments to their victims.

The 2019 attack was the deadliest of a dozen mass shootings in the U.S. linked to hate crimes since 2006, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.

Before the shooting, Crusius had appeared consumed by the nation's immigration debate, tweeting #BuildtheWall and other social media posts that praised then-President Donald Trump's hardline border policies. Crusius went further in his rant posted before the attack, sounding warnings that Hispanics were going to take over the government and economy.

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