EL PASO, Texas – The accused gunman in the Walmart shooting has made his first public court appearance since the August 3rd shooting.
Rio Grande Valley native Leonardo Campos was among the 22 victims tragically killed that day.
The 21-year-old accused shooter had his arraignment hearing this afternoon, October 10, 2019.
21-year-old Patrick Crusius has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder charges against him.
The courtroom was filled with family members of the victims and the moments leading up to the suspect’s entrance were filled with silence.
When the suspect pleaded not guilty gasps could be heard and many of the victim’s family members burst into tears.
Judge Sam Medrano gave Crusius a copy of the indictment which he looked over and then chose to waive the reading of the charges against him. He then pleaded not guilty.
Prior to today’s arraignment, El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza said he would be seeking the death penalty in this case.
After today’s arraignment, defense attorneys Joe Spencer and Mark Stevens said they feel both sides of the story need to be told.
“I will tell you this, I believe the El Paso community needs healing. The El Paso community needs closure and the quickest way to get closure and healing is not by seeking the death penalty. I will tell you that Mark and I will use every breath we have to try and save Patrick’s life and I would much rather use every breath we have to try and save his life than to try and take his life,” said Joe Spencer defense attorney for Patrick Crusius.
Defense attorney Stevens also added that many Americans have already made up their own minds about Patrick Crusius and they are asking everyone to have an open mind.
The arraignment was very brief, finishing in just about a minute and a half and the next time the suspect will appear in court will be on November 7th.
Leonardo Campos’s wife was also among those who lost their lives in the El Paso mass shooting.
8 of the victims were Mexican nationals, one a German citizen.