FBI issues warning about shootings in Dayton, El Paso

FBI issues warning about shootings in Dayton, El Paso
A memorial continues to grow in Dayton, where nine people were gunned down and another 27 were hurt in a mass shooting early Sunday. (Source: Amber Jayanth)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The FBI issued a warning Sunday about two mass shootings that left killed more than two dozen people and wounded several others over the weekend in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

“The FBI remains concerned that U.S.-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence,” the statement reads in part.

“The FBI asks the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online.”

Twenty people died, and more than two dozen others were injured after a shooting at a shopping center in El Paso Saturday. The suspected shooter was identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.

Within 13 hours of the El Paso shooting, another nine people were killed and 27 others were wounded in a mass shooting in downtown Dayton just after 1 a.m. Sunday.

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Dayton police responded within seconds and killed the gunman 30 seconds after he fired his first shots, Police Chief Richard Biehl said Sunday.

While federal authorities are treating the El Paso shooting as a case of domestic terrorism and the Justice Department is considering federal hate crime charges against the suspect, police say it’s too to speculate on motive in the Dayton one.

Assistant Dayton Police Chief Matt Carper said Sunday the gunman opened fire in a popular nightlife district so fast “it’s very hard to imagine there was very much discrimination in the shooting.”

Here is the FBI’s statement in its entirety:

Twenty people died and 26 were wounded in a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart Saturday, and just hours later, a gunman opened fire in a crowded nightlife district in downtown Dayton, killing nine including his own sister, and wounding 27 others.

The attack in El Paso, Texas, underscores the continued threat posed by domestic violent extremists and perpetrators of hate crimes. The FBI is supporting its state and local partners in Texas through investigative, intelligence, and technical assistance. The El Paso investigation is also being supported by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell, which was established in spring 2019. Composed of subject matter experts from both the Criminal Investigative and Counterterrorism Divisions, the fusion cell offers program coordination from FBI Headquarters, helps ensure seamless information sharing across divisions, and augments investigative resources.

The FBI is also providing assistance to the Dayton (Ohio) Police Department’s investigation into the shooting in Dayton, through the Bureau’s Cincinnati Field Office, with support from FBI Headquarters personnel.

“On behalf of the FBI, I offer sincere condolences to the victims, families, and communities affected by this weekend’s violence, and we stand by them during this difficult time. We will bring the full resources of the FBI to bear in the pursuit of justice for the victims of these crimes.” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“I am proud of our state and local law enforcement partners and the immediate response of FBI agents, analysts, and professional staff, working in close coordination to assist them. I have been in contact with the president and the attorney general, and they both have expressed their support for the FBI’s work in the wake of these tragedies.”

The FBI remains concerned that U.S.-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence. The FBI asks the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online.

As a result of both shootings and the FBI warning, a sheriff in the northern Cincinnati suburbs announced Sunday he is stepping up patrols.

Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones said his Road Patrol unit is under orders to be more visible and supervisors have been briefed on where marked units should patrol to make the community feel safer and try to deter tragedy.

RELATED | Victims identified in Dayton mass shooting

Deputies also will be stopped by and getting beverages or eating in more populated areas such as malls, stores and at special events, the sheriff said.

Jones said his command staff will meet Monday morning to come up with more ways to try to prevent tragedies from happening in Butler County.

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