El Paso ‘up to the task’ of prosecuting Walmart shooting suspect, district attorney says

El Paso Strong

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — During a Texas Tribune panel discussion at UTEP last week, District Attorney Jamie Esparza was asked why prosecutors have not decided to hand the trial of suspected Walmart shooter Patrick Crusius to the federal government.

Esparza explained El Paso is up to the task.

“If you’re going to take 22 lives from us, plus the 26 that you injured and all the people that you’ve hurt … El Paso is up to the task,” said Esparza, who’s the district attorney for Texas’ 34th Judicial District, which covers El Paso, Culberson and Hudspeth counties.

His comments were followed by applause at the Tribune event Thursday.

Crusius was arrested shortly after the Aug. 3 shooting, in which 22 were killed and 26 were injured. According to the police, he said he was targeting Mexicans.

During the conference, it was brought to Esparza’s attention by the Tribune that many people are wondering why his office is willing to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on the trial.

“Funding should never have a barrier in this prosecution so I can tell you I’m not going to hand it off to the feds just because, it’s cheaper,” said Esparza.

When KTSM asked El Pasoans if they agree, it was a different story.

“This is an issue of pride and solidarity which I don’t think takes precedence over in the efficiency in which we spend in taxpayer money that’ll be shoveled in so no I don’t agree with him,” said Emilio Rios.

El Pasoan Marco Gomez explained he feels this is a way the city is seeking justice.

“It becomes an issue of vengeance and I don’t think society should ever use vengeance as a tool to lear out the bad blood, I think it should be tried at the federal level that way we can start moving on,” said Gomez.

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