Families of Walmart Shooter Victims Have Their Day In Court

(NewsReady.com) – Four years ago, a gunman opened fire, killing 23 people in a Texas Walmart. Now, finally, he’s been punished for his appalling crime —and the relatives of his victims were in court to watch that happen.

On August 3, 2019, Patrick Crusius walked into a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and opened fire on its mainly Latino customers with a Romanian-made AK rifle. Minutes later, 23 people were dead, and another 22 were injured. Crusius then turned himself into the Texas Rangers. His trial was delayed by the pandemic, and then his lawyers tried to push it back to 2025. Then, on February 8, he pleaded guilty to 90 federal charges. His sentencing hearing began on July 5, and family members of some of his victims appeared in court to give statements and watch him face the consequences of his murderous rampage.

For those who survived Crusius’s deranged assault and the relatives of those who didn’t, the sentencing hearing was their first chance to confront the killer and tell him how his actions had affected them. Some of them had defiant messages.

Minutes before he started shooting, Crusius posted a manifesto to the internet. In it, he complained about how Hispanics were “taking over” Texas. Last week, Tito Anchondo, whose brother and sister-in-law died shielding their baby from bullets, told the court “his efforts were in vain.” One couple traveled from Omaha, Nebraska, to see justice done; Dean Reckard said he had nothing to say to his mother’s killer, but he and his wife made the trip anyway.

Crusius was just 21 when he committed the atrocity. Now, he’ll probably never be free again. On July 7, he received 90 consecutive life sentences. As he was led out of the court, Dean Reckard found something to say to him after all; he called the murderer a coward.

Last week’s sentencing ended the federal case against Crusius. However, he still has to face trial on state charges. Federal prosecutors took capital punishment off the table, a move that might have persuaded him to enter his guilty plea. Their Texas colleagues are less forgiving, though; they’ve already announced they plan to push for the death penalty.

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