Mass shootings: Key developments in Texas and Ohio
Anguished families and a nation reeled as the death toll from two weekend mass shootings — one at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and the other at a popular nightlife area in Dayton, Ohio — rose and politicians pointed fingers.
The attacks 1,300 miles apart have raised questions about where to lay the blame and what can be done to prevent future violence.
Here are some key developments from Monday:
DEATH TOLL RISES
The death toll from two weekend mass shootings rose to 31 on Monday.
Authorities say two people wounded in Saturday’s shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, died in the hospital Monday.
The death toll from the Texas attack is now 22. Roughly two dozen other people were wounded.
The attack happened hours before a separate mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, in which nine people were killed and injured dozens more.
President Donald Trump called for bipartisan solutions to gun violence.
Trump, who remained largely out of view for two days at his New Jersey golf club, spoke at the White House on Monday, saying he wanted legislation providing “strong background checks” for gun users. He seemed to abandon his latest idea of linking gun control legislation to immigration policy just a few hours after proposing it.
Trump has backed away from previous pledges to strengthen gun laws following other mass shootings.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement the president “remains prisoner to the gun lobby and the NRA.”
Trump also blamed mental illness and video games for the epidemic of violence.
OHIO GUNMAN’S HISTORY
High school classmates of the gunman in Ohio questioned how he could have been allowed to buy the military-style weapon used in the attack.
The former classmates told The Associated Press that Connor Betts was suspended during their junior year at suburban Bellbrook High School after a hit list was found scrawled in a school bathroom. He would have been 17 at the time.
Police said there was nothing in the background of Betts, who was killed by police, that would have prevented him from purchasing an AR 15-style rifle with an extended ammunition magazine
Betts had no apparent criminal record as an adult and it is not clear what, if any, criminal charges Betts faced when he was under 18 — especially if his records were expunged. Ohio law bars anyone convicted of a felony as an adult, or convicted of a juvenile charge that would have been a felony if they were 18 or older, from buying firearms.
MEXICO CALLS TEXAS SHOOTING TERRORISM
Mexico’s foreign secretary says the Mexican government considers the El Paso mass shooting to be an act of terrorism against Mexican citizens on U.S. soil.
Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard says eight Mexican nationals were among the dead. Tens of thousands of Mexicans legally cross the border each day to work and shop in El Paso.
Authorities say the suspected gunman wound up at the store after driving south more than 10 hours from the Dallas area.
Authorities are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime aimed at immigrants.
Twenty-one-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius of Allen, Texas, has been booked on capital murder charges and jailed without bond.