Houston/Washington: Two separate mass shootings within 24 hours left 30 dead and several others injured in the US states of Texas and Ohio, including one thought to be a hate crime, the latest in a string of such incidents in America that have shocked the nation.
The first shooting took place in the southern border town of El Paso in Texas, where a 21-year-old gunman opened fire at a crowded Walmart store, killing 20 people and wounding 26 others on Saturday.
Less than 20 minutes before the shooting, Patrick Crusius allegedly uploaded a twisted and seething anti-immigrant manifesto on an online forum outlining his sickening motives.
The 2,300 word post titled 'The Inconvenient Truth' speaks of a perceived 'Hispanic invasion of Texas' and a belief that white people will soon be 'ethnically replaced'
Crusius writes that he will target Hispanics in the shooting because they 'will take control of the local and state government of my beloved Texas' in a 'political coup which will hasten the destruction of our country.'
Hours later, a man killed nine people before being shot dead by police in Oregon district, a historic neighbourhood known for its nightclubs, bars, art galleries and shops.
The gunman was dressed all in black and wearing body armour; he opened fire on patrons at a small bar. The assailant was shot to death by officers within less than a minute.
The first shooting that tore through a Walmart jammed with back-to-school shoppers in El Paso marked another bleak milestone in a nation pocked by gun violence: the 250th mass shooting of 2019.
And the rampage notched an even darker statistic: It occurred on the 215th day of the year, meaning there have been more mass shootings than days so far this year.
Texas authorities are investigating the El Paso shooting as a possible hate crime, Allen said. For several minutes on Saturday morning, the packed Walmart store, where shoppers were busy buying back to school stuff for their kids, filled with gun smoke and the echo of gunfire.
Footage shot on mobiles appeared to show multiple bodies lying on the ground in the store's parking lot. "On a day that would have been a normal day for someone to leisurely go shopping, turned into one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas."
El Paso has long been both a cultural and political symbol of Hispanic Texas. The city has had a binational feel because of its proximity and ties to its sister city in Mexico, Ciudad Juárez, and has been in the national spotlight for months. Thousands of Central American families have flooded the city and surrounding areas seeking asylum.
By Seema Hakhu Kachru