El Paso shooting could have $8 million impact on county budget, officials say

El Paso Strong

Texas State troopers walk outside the Walmart store in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. A gunman opened fire Saturday killing over a dozen. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — In the days following Saturday’s mass shooting, El Paso County officials are considering the financial impact the tragedy will have on the county’s budget.

“It could be a … huge impact on us,” one commissioner said at Thursday’s special budget meeting.

Members of the district attorney’s office, El Paso City Council, medical examiner’s office, county attorney’s office, and other county agencies met on Tuesday to discuss the potential future costs associated with the mass shooting.

According to Budget Director Wallace “Wally” Hardgrove, the shooting could have an impact of up to $8 million in the coming fiscal years, assuming the case goes to trial.

Hardgrove added that a portion of that money would go to the medical examiner’s office, where supplies were quickly exhausted to treat the dozens of victims.

County Chief Administrator Betsy Keller said she and other staff members examined budgets of other counties that experienced similar incidents.

She said the public defense cost of Aurora, Colorado — where 12 people were killed in a movie theater shooting — was upwards of $4 million.

Keller added that El Paso County will need to apply for financial assistance in order to cover the lofty expense.

Twenty-two people died and two dozen people were wounded in the attack in El Paso. The suspected gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, has been booked on capital murder charges.

“We will apply for funding and assistance for that, but … we believe it will not cover the whole expense,” Keller said.

Watch the commissioners’ full special budget meeting below:

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