US grieves after two mass shootings leave 29 dead


El Paso ( United States)

Two mass shootings in the United States left 29 people dead and 50 injured within 24 hours, the latest such attacks in a nation torn over how to tackle gun violence. First gunman armed with an assault rifle killed 20 people Saturday when he opened fire on shoppers at a packed Walmart store in El Paso, Texas.
The shooting at a Walmart and shopping center in West Texas, not far from the border with Mexico, sparked panic, grief and a sprawling investigation, as yet another public place was terrorized by a hail of bullets. The chaotic but grimly familiar scene of terror here was followed just hours later by a late-night shooting rampage in Dayton, Ohio, during which nine people were slain and more than two dozen injured, officials said.
It was a ghastly scene across America, with more than two dozen people killed in two shooting rampages over the course of a single tragic day. Another seven people were wounded early Sunday during a shooting in Chicago.
Less than 13 hours later, a lone shooter killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio early Sunday before being shot dead by responding police officers. The attacker opened fire around 1:00 am (0500 GMT) on a street in the popular bar and nightlife district called Oregon, leaving nine dead and 26 wounded.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the shooter was wearing body armour and had high-capacity magazines and extra magazines. “In less than one minute Dayton first responders neutralized the shooter,” she said.
“I am amazed by the quick response of Dayton police that saved literally hundreds of lives,” Whaley said, adding that it was “the 250th mass shooting in America.”
Actually, it was the 251st, according to the Gun Violence Archive, an NGO. It defines mass shooting as an incident in which at least four people are wounded or killed in a shooting.
Dayton deputy police chief Lt. Col. Matt Carper said police were working to identify the shooter and the FBI were on the scene.
“Fortunately we had multiple officers in the immediate vicinity when this incident started so there was a very short timeline of violence, for that we’ve very fortunate,” he said, praising the swift response by officers.
“As bad as this is, it could have been much, much worse.” Carper said the attack appeared to be the work of a lone shooter. The incident came just hours after the mass shooting at a Walmart store in Texas which has reignited debate about the US epidemic of gun violence.
President Donald Trump described the El Paso attack as “an act of cowardice” and police are treating it as a possible hate crime. One suspect was taken into custody while authorities were studying an extremist manifesto purportedly written by the gunman. Footage shot with cellphones appeared to show multiple bodies lying on the ground in the store’s parking lot while other footage showed terrified shoppers running out of the store as gunfire echoed.
Police chief Greg Allen confirmed that in addition to the 20 confirmed fatalities in El Paso, there were 26 wounded. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said three Mexican citizens were killed and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said six others were wounded.
News reports said the ages of victims being treated at hospitals ranged from two to 82 years.
Police said that Walmart was “at capacity” at the time of the shooting, with 1,000-3,000 customers inside.— AFP

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