A gunman who confessed to attacking people of Mexican descent in a mass shooting at a Texas Walmart that left 22 dead, pleaded guilty Wednesday to dozens of hate crimes, federal authorities said.
Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty after federal prosecutors said last month they would not seek the death penalty in the Aug. 3, 2019 attack in El Paso.
He pleaded guilty to 23 counts of hate crimes resulting in death and 22 hate crimes causing grievous bodily injury and involving intent to kill, the Justice Department said in a news release.
He also admitted to 45 firearms offense violations, according to the statement. As part of his plea agreement, he accepted a prison term of 90 consecutive life sentences, one for each count in the indictment, according to the statement.
“Violence fueled by white nationalists has no place in our society today,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “This senseless massacre violates the law, goes against our values as Americans, and challenges the principles of tolerance and inclusion that define us as a nation.”
More on the El Paso Walmart shooting
Joe Spencer, Crusius’ attorney, said Wednesday that his client “has been trying to accept responsibility” since the shooting and is “glad he was finally able to.”
“There are no winners when you receive 90 consecutive life sentences where you will die in prison after a lifetime of punishment and incarceration for your mental illness,” Spencer said.
In the charging documents, federal authorities said the shooter posted a document online before the massacre that described the attack as a response to a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
In the document, he described himself as a white nationalist and said he targeted El Paso, a border city, to discourage immigrants from coming to the United States, according to the Wednesday news release.
Charging documents say he purchased the weapon used in the shooting, a rifle described by state authorities as an AK-47, less than two months before he opened fire.
The gunman also bought 1,000 rounds of ammunition and drove from a relative’s home in Allen, more than 650 miles east of El Paso, according to the documents.
A sentencing date has not yet been set, the Justice Department said.