Patrick Wood Crusius, who was just 21 years old when he killed 23 people and injured another 22, pleaded guilty to 90 federal hate crime charges in a Texas court. In 2019, Crusius drove 10 hours to the border city of El Paso and slaughtered innocent Latinos to combat the “invasion” of Hispanics in the United States.

Crusius pleads guilty after initially refusing to do so

As a result of his guilty plea, Crusius will most likely serve 90 consecutive life sentences in federal prison. Initially, Crusius refused to plead guilty but later changed course when he no longer faced the death penalty as part of his sentencing.

Of the 90 overall counts, Crusius pleaded guilty to 45 counts of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The other 45 counts stemmed from using a firearm related to violent crimes. Prior to the shooting, Crusius posted an online manifesto called “An Inconvenient Truth,” warning his followers of a “Hispanic invasion.”

Upon his arrival at the El Paso Walmart, Crusius shot someone in the parking lot before opening fire at people raising money for a local soccer team. He then entered the store and killed an additional nine people standing near a bank inside the superstore.

After firing down aisles inside the Walmart, he left and killed another man who was driving in the parking lot with his wife. When authorities arrived on the scene, Crusius immediately surrendered. He reportedly said, “I’m the shooter.”

The Justice Department and FBI condemn Crusius’ actions

The Justice Department released an official statement on Crusius’ guilty plea.

Following his sentencing, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “Today’s guilty plea marks one more step towards justice for the El Paso community; however, we must remember that the survivors and victims’ families will be on a lifelong journey of healing because of this defendant’s actions.”

He continued, “We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Hispanic community who had their sense of security shattered by this heinous attack. The FBI will continue to seek justice for all those whose civil rights and safety are threatened by hate.”

Elsewhere, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Nothing can undo the immeasurable loss suffered by the loved ones of the victims of that attack or the terror inflicted on the El Paso community in its wake. Today’s action makes clear that the Justice Department will not tolerate hate-fueled violence that endangers the safety of our communities.”

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who works within the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Leachman for the Western District of Texas, also weighed in on this week’s verdict. Although an official sentencing date has yet to be set, Crusius is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

He may also face the death penalty when charges filed against him by the state of Texas go to trial.