At least 20 people have been murdered in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and a 21-year-old white man is being questioned by authorities over a racist “manifesto” posted online.
Video footage taken inside a mall in El Paso showed people running for cover in fear of their lives after a shooter entered a Walmart store with a semiautomatic weapon and opened fire.
In addition to the 20 fatalities, at least two-dozen people were injured in the mass shooting, which occurred just hours before another shooting in Ohio. Police in Texas have labelled the Walmart attack the “nexus of a hate crime.”
Reports have suggested that the suspected shooter, who has been identified by multiple media accounts as Patrick Crusius, drove some ten hours from Alen, a town near Dallas, to target the store, which rests in a city on the border with Mexico.
An online posting was allegedly written mere days before the incident stating that the attack was a response to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
“Even if other non-immigrant targets would have a greater impact, I can’t bring myself to kill my fellow Americans,” it said.
In response the El Paso Police Department are asking people to come forward and donate blood
And to donate to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund set up by the Paso Del Norte community foundation.
When such events occur, it is normal to be inundated with social media posts, video footage and imagery claiming to come from the source despite little information being made available to the public.
At this time it is important to ensure that you are getting your information from credible news sources and that your actions online do not hinder an active investigation.
As more information about the El Paso shooting becomes available to the public, it is important to remain vigilant, to avoid spreading misinformation ‘fake news’ or to engage in fear-mongering.
With that in mind, we have compiled a few things to consider that will help authorities and others understand what happened.
1. Get your information from official news sources
At this heightened emotional time, people might share what they claim to be accurate information about what has happened.
Check the source of the information, and be sure that it has come from official channels and reliable places.
Double-check that anything you share has been reported by authorities before posting it on social media.
2. If you think you have information, send it to the right source
There isn’t much information about the shooter currently available to the public.
If you believe you have any knowledge, imagery or footage that could help, it is important to send it to the right people and not to share it online.
Sharing such information online at this time before contacting authorities can seriously hinder an investigation.
Your evidence, no matter how small, can be very valuable.
3. Don’t share any graphic content or disturbing imagery
As previously reported, video footage of the mass shooting has been taken from inside the mall in El Paso. Several videos have already been shared on social media claiming to be from the incident.
At this time it is not known if all of the footage is from the attack, but they must not be shared on social media.
CNN said that Facebook was working with police in the aftermath of the shooting to remove a Facebook and Instagram account associated with the suspect.
Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Reddit are said to be actively taking down the videos as soon as they are uploaded.
Should you see any footage claiming to be from the attack, whether graphic or not, DO NOT SHARE IT.
Such videos cause intense stress to others, especially family and friends of the victims. It is also disrespectful to the victims.
If you have seen any footage of the incident on social media, please contact those respective platforms’ moderators.
4. Follow the advice of the authorities
The best way you can help authorities is by following their advice. If you are in the area or wish to keep updated on the investigation, follow the official social media accounts of the El Paso police.
They frequently update with correct information and debunk false information floating around on the web.
If you are currently residing in America you can contact the police via the following methods:
El Paso Police Department’s Twitter is:
If you have been affected by this story and currently live in the UK we recommend that you contact the American high commission in London.
They can be reached via the following means.
Address: 33 Nine Elms Ln, Nine Elms, London SW11 7US
Telephone: 020 7499 9000
Additionally, if you have any knowledge or have seen any online material promoting terrorism or extremism then you can report it to the UK government through the following link: