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Mass shootings roil US politics anew

By HENG WEILI in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-08-05 23:33

Julio Novoa (left) and Danielle Novoa (right) kneel beside a memorial with their 10-month-old son Ricard Novoa at the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart shopping complex on Sunday in El Paso, Texas. [Photo/Agencies]

29 die over weekend as gunmen spray bullets in Texas and Ohio; Trump to address on Monday

The issue of gun violence was thrust again into the American political arena, as authorities attempted to explain two mass shootings over the weekend in which 29 people were killed in Texas and Ohio.

Democratic leaders urged Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold an emergency session to debate gun control legislation after lawmakers left Washington a few days ago for a five-week recess. Republicans and some moderate Democrats have resisted placing additional restrictions on gun ownership.

Nine people were killed by a gunman early Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, while 20 were killed at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday morning.

In El Paso, the suspected gunman, Patrick Crusius, 21, a white male from Allen, Texas, near Dallas, was in police custody. The police are reviewing a "manifesto" in connection with the shooting. A prosecutor said Sunday the state will seek the death penalty for Crusius.

The US attorney for the Western District of Texas, John Bash, said federal authorities were treating the El Paso massacre as a case of domestic terrorism.

"And we're going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is to deliver swift and certain justice," Bash told reporters Sunday.

In the Dayton shooting, 24-year-old gunman Connor Betts, a white male from Bellbrook, Ohio, was killed by police after a one-minute rampage. His sister Megan, 22, was among the dead. Twenty-seven others were injured in the shooting in the popular nightlife district.

Several Democratic presidential candidates sought on Sunday to link US President Donald Trump's rhetoric to the spate of shootings and to white nationalism.

"Donald Trump is responsible for this. He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry," US Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said on CNN's State of the Union.

"It gives me no pleasure to say this, but I think all of the evidence out there suggests that we have a president who is a racist, who is a xenophobe who appeals, and is trying to appeal, to white nationalism," Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, US senator from Vermont, said on CNN.

"Clearly Donald Trump does not want anybody shooting down innocent people," Sanders said, but added that talk about invasions and labeling migrants criminals risks leading unstable people to take up arms.

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