(EL PASO, Texas) — A 2-year-old victim survived a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, according to Rep. Veronica Escobar, because the child’s mother used her body as a shield.
Escobar described the woman sacrificing her life on This Week Sunday. She was one of 20 people killed in the shooting at a Walmart.
“We’ve been one of the safest communities in the nation for decades,” Escobar said. “We are a warm, loving, compassionate, bi-national community. We love to celebrate and embrace our diversity, our location on the U.S.-Mexico border.”
As for the shooter, whom authorities have identified as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, Escobar said, “This individual came not from within the community, but outside of it.”
“In this country, we have a gun violence epidemic, but we also have a hate epidemic,” Escobar added. “And until we confront that hate and until we confront the weak gun laws that we have, we’re going to keep seeing this.”
At least 20 people were killed and 26 people were injured in El Paso, Texas, making the shooting one of the most deadly mass casualty shootings in U.S. history. Another mass shooting occurred in Dayton, Ohio, a little over 12 hours later.
Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton, Ohio, echoed many of Escobar’s sentiments.
“This is a safe area of the city where thousands of people come every evening to enjoy with friends and young people. It’s one of the most diverse parts of Dayton,” she told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on This Week in a separate interview.
She added that she was amazed by the Dayton Police Department’s response time to the mass shooting.
“In under a minute, the Dayton Police Department had the situation under control,” she said. “And what’s scary about that is that if they were not there, the hundreds of lost lives we would’ve had in the Oregon District.”
“This is a safe area of the city where thousands of people come every evening to enjoy with friends and young people. It’s one of the most diverse parts of Dayton, and we have to start asking the question of why is Dayton the 250th mass shooting this year in our country,” she added.
At least nine people were killed in the bustling Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio, where there were “thousands of people.” The shooter was also killed at the scene.
In El Paso, Police Chief Greg Allen said authorities are examining a so-called “manifesto,” that they believe was possibly written by the shooter and could show a possible “nexus” to a hate crime.
Cielo Vista Mall, where the Walmart is located, is one of El Paso’s most popular malls, especially among Mexican tourists who come to the U.S. to shop. At least three Mexican nationals were killed in the attack, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said.
Escobar said the mall was located in the center of the community.
“It’s the store that my mom shops at,” she said. “It’s the store that my family and I shop at. And so there’s no surprise that it was very, very busy.”
On concerns that immigrant communities may be afraid to report crimes out of fear of deportation, Escobar said she’s scared for immigrant communities across the country.
“We have a very different philosophy in El Paso from the philosophy that emanates from the White House,” she added. “We embrace one another and take care of one another.”
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