EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The Mexican government will start its own investigation into Saturday’s mass shooting at the El Paso Walmart, which left 22 people dead, including eight citizens of Mexico.
Mexico also will reserve the right to request the extradition of the suspected mass murderer, a top official in President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration said Monday in El Paso.
“Tomorrow I will meet with our Attorney General to put together a criminal complaint investigation into what we consider a terrorist act committed, in this case, against Mexican citizens in U.S. territory,” said Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
Speaking at the Mexican consulate in El Paso, Ebrard said that international law gives Mexico the right not only to provide legal representation to its citizens abroad, but also to actively participate in investigations in cases where Mexicans have been victims of terrorism abroad.
“We will participate in this process, in this investigation, and later in the trial because Mexican men and women have lost their lives,” Ebrard said, adding that this will be his country’s first major terrorism investigation ever.
The Foreign Minister also said his government would be looking into “the sale and distribution” of weapons such as the assault rifle that was allegedly used in the shooting by suspect Patrick Crusius. The Mexican government has strict firearm laws and has long tried to get the United States to crack down on illegal arms exports to Mexico. In this case, the Mexican government wants access to the murder weapon as part of its investigation.
While some Hispanic leaders in the United States and a few officials in Mexico have sharply criticized President Trump for allegedly encouraging anti-immigrant and racially charged speech, Ebrard said his government “coincides” with Trump’s latest statement on Monday regarding the tragedy.
Trump spoke Monday morning, saying “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”
“We looked very carefully at the U.S. President’s statement … we coincide with the mention of racism and white supremacy as being serious problems in the United States,” Ebrard said.
The Foreign Minister began his visit to El Paso by meeting with survivors of the shooting and the families of the dead Mexican citizens. He said there are still six Mexicans hospitalized and expressed his condolences for all of the 22 people killed.
“We express our condolences for this tragedy to each family … Mexico expresses its solidarity. We are friends with the people of the United States. This is a binational community, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, and we intend to maintain this (relationship) in the future. We are different cultures but we need to live with and respect each other in Mexico and in the United States,” he said.
Ebrard added that the Mexican consulate in El Paso will work with local authorities to expedite repatriation of the bodies of the victims, if their families so desire.