Monday September 28th, 2020 8:43AM

As death count rises in 2 US shootings, a familiar aftermath

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Anguished families planned funerals in two U.S. cities, politicians pointed fingers and a nation numbed by gun violence wondered what might come next Monday as the death toll from two weekend mass shootings rose to 31.

The attacks 1,300 miles apart — at a packed shopping center in El Paso, Texas , and a popular nightlife stretch in Dayton, Ohio — also injured dozens more. They became the newest entries on an ever-growing list of mass shooting sites and spurred discussion on where to lay the blame. President Donald Trump cited mental illness and video games but steered away from talk of curbing gun sales.

For all the back-to-back horror of innocent people slain amid everyday life, decades of an unmistakably American problem of gun violence ensured it wasn't entirely shocking. Even as the familiar post-shooting rituals played out in both cities, others clung to life in hospitals, with two new fatalities recorded among those injured at the shooting at the Walmart in El Paso.

As in a litany of other shooting sites before, the public juggled stories of the goodness seen in lives cut short with inklings of the demented motives of the shooters, and on-scene heroics with troubling ideologies that may have sparked the bloodshed.

Equally familiar, Washington reacted along party lines, with Trump's vague suggestion of openness to new gun laws met with skepticism by an opposition that has heard similar talk before.

"Hate has no place in America," the president declared in a 10-minute speech from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, condemning racism and rehashing national conversations on treatment for mental health, depiction of violence in the media, and discourse on the internet.

A racist screed authorities were working to confirm was left by the alleged perpetrator in the Texas shooting, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, mirrored some of Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric. Some, like Ernesto Carrillo, whose brother-in-law Ivan Manzano was killed in the Walmart attack, said the president shares blame for inflammatory language Carrillo called a "campaign of terror."

"His work as a generator of hate ended in this," said Carrillo, who crossed the border from Ciudad Juárez on Monday for a meeting in El Paso with Mexico's foreign minister. "Thanks to him, this is all happening."

Trump, in turn, tweeted that the media "contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up."

Trump suggested a bill to expand gun background checks could be combined with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation's immigration system, but gave no rationale for the pairing. Studies have repeatedly shown immigrants have a lower level of criminality than those born in the U.S., both shooting suspects were citizens, and federal officials are investigating anti-immigrant bias as a potential motive in the Texas massacre.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a leading voice on gun reform since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his state rattled the country with the slaughter of 20 children, immediately dismissed the president's proposal as meaningless. "Tying background checks to immigration reform is a transparent play to do nothing," he wrote on Twitter.

Whatever the political back-and-forth, or the re-energized presence of gun control talk on the presidential campaign trail, the very real consequences of gun violence were still being bared by victims badly injured in the two states.

In both incidents, a young white male was identified as the lone suspect. Though authorities were eyeing racism as a possible factor in Texas, where the alleged shooter has been booked on murder charges, in Ohio police said there was no indication of a similar motivation. Police in Dayton said they responded in about 30 seconds early Sunday and fatally shot 24-year-old Connor Betts. While the gunman was white and six of the nine killed were black, police said the quickness of the rampage made any discrimination in the shooting seem unlikely.

Betts' sister was also among the dead.

"It seems to just defy believability he would shoot his own sister, but it's also hard to believe that he didn't recognize it was his sister, so we just don't know," said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine visited the scene Sunday and said policymakers must consider: "Is there anything we can do in the future to make sure something like this does not happen?"

Hours later, hundreds of people stood at a vigil and vented their frustration at the Republican governor, interrupting him with chants of "Make a change!" and "Do something!" as he talked about the victims.

"People are angry, and they're upset. They should be," said Jennifer Alfrey, 24, of Middletown, who added that she didn't agree with interrupting the vigil but understood why so many did.

In Texas, where 22 were killed, authorities said the accused shooter hailed from a Dallas suburb a 10-hour drive away. Authorities seemed to take some solace in knowing the shooter wasn't one of their own.

"It's not what we're about," El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said.


Sedensky reported from New York and can be reached at and


Contributing to this report were John Seewer in Dayton, Ohio; Julie Carr Smyth and Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio; Cedar Attanasio and Morgan Lee in El Paso, Texas; Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas; and Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire in Washington.


This story has been amended to correct that the combined death toll from the shootings is 31.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Personal Finance, AP Business - Financial Planning
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
As death count rises in 2 US shootings, a familiar aftermath
Death count rises to 31 as Trump places blame for mass shootings in Ohio and Texas on internet and social media
2:07PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Stocks around the world slide as trade war worsens
U.S. stocks nosedived in early trading as China's currency fell sharply and stoked fears that the trade war between the U.S. and China will again escalate
2:04PM ( 9 minutes ago )
A day of striking sows chaos across Hong Kong
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam maintained that she has no plans to resign as protesters filled public parks and squares in several districts in a general strike
2:03PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Mexico: Texas shooting 'act of terrorism' against Mexicans
Mexico's government says it considers a shooting at a crowded department store in El Paso, Texas that left 8 of its citizens dead an "act of terrorism" against Mexicans and hopes it will led to changes in U.S. gun laws
1:37PM ( 36 minutes ago )
The Latest: UN chief calls for all people to counter hatred
The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for all people "to work together to counter violence rooted in hatred, racism, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination."
1:35PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Ohio gunman's ex-classmates decry missed chances to stop him
High school classmates of the gunman who killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio, say he was suspended years ago for compiling a "hit list" and a "rape list," and questioned how he could have been allowed to buy the military-style weapon used in the attack.
1:33PM ( 40 minutes ago )
AP National News
30 killed in 2 US shootings, and it could have been worse
In two mass shootings in less than 24 hours apart, 30 people were killed and dozens were wounded
12:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Trump cites mental health reform after shootings
President Donald Trump says the nation must reform mental health laws to better identify 'mentally disturbed individuals' after 2 mass shootings in Texas and Ohio this weekend killed dozens of people
12:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: El Paso victim dies, raising death toll to 21
Authorities say another person has died from a weekend mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, raising the death toll in that attack to 21
11:56AM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Titanic shipyard in Northern Ireland calls in administrators
Harland and Wolff, the Belfast shipyard that built the Titanic, is facing administration
1:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
Lightning sign Shattenkirk after buyout by Rangers
Veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk signs 1-year, $1.75 million contract with Lightning
1:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Major German union urges members to join climate protests
One of Germany's largest unions is calling on its members to join the weekly "Fridays for Future" protests calling for action on climate change
1:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
France drafts law to extend IVF to lesbians, single women
Single women and lesbians in France no longer would have to go abroad to get pregnant with a doctor's help under a proposed law that would give them access to medically assisted reproduction at home
3:03PM ( 23 hours ago )
Health care comes in focus, this time as risk for Democrats
Health care is back in focus, but potential disruption of employer coverage is a risk for Democrats
5:56AM ( 3 days ago )
These types of apps could prompt impromptu spending
Take a look at your app list to see if any are influencing you to overspend easier
10:51AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Business - Personal Finance
Money problems? Perhaps financial therapy is for you
What is 'financial therapy,' and do you need it?
3:32PM ( 6 days ago )
Financial therapy: What it is and who needs it?
What is 'financial therapy,' and do you need it?
10:25AM ( 1 week ago )
Trump proposal seeks to crack down on food stamp 'loophole'
President Donald Trump's administration is proposing to end an option that has allowed states to exceed federal eligibility thresholds for food stamps by providing applicants with a government brochure
4:06AM ( 1 week ago )
AP Business - Financial Planning
Stocks around the world slide as trade war worsens
U.S. stocks nosedived in early trading as China's currency fell sharply and stoked fears that the trade war between the U.S. and China will again escalate
2:04PM ( 9 minutes ago )
A day of striking sows chaos across Hong Kong
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam maintained that she has no plans to resign as protesters filled public parks and squares in several districts in a general strike
2:03PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Journalist's death helps to reshape US handling of hostages
After journalist James Foley was beheaded by Islamic State militants 5 years ago, his mother committed herself to making sure that other hostage families had a better, more productive relationship with the US government than she did
2:00PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Messi strains calf, will miss Barcelona's US trip
Lionel Messi strained his right calf and will not travel with Barcelona to the United States for two preseason exhibition games against Napoli
1:53PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Priests accused of abusing deaf Argentine students on trial
Downcast and sitting in a wheelchair as his historic trial began in Argentina, the Rev. Nicola Corradi didn't look like the man former students at an institute for the deaf say was the force behind years of "indescribable" torment through alleged abuse
1:49PM ( 24 minutes ago )