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El Paso Shooter’s Ideology Learned from Internet

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The family of Patrick Crusius, the alleged gunman in El Paso’s mass shooting, worried he was a little lost, with few friends, but thought he wasn’t any more aimless than others his age, said family lawyer Christopher Ayres, the Wall Street Journal reports. When Crusius discussed current events, history and politics with his grandfather, with whom he lived for a while, his ideas didn’t appear to be out of the mainstream, Ayres says. Like many young men in Texas, he occasionally went to the gun range with his father. Evidence is emerging that Crusius, 21, cut a much different profile on the internet, where he spent some eight hours a day, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He has told investigators that he came to his views by doing research online and didn’t speak to or organize with other white nationalists in person. He said he read the manifesto by the perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand and thought it had the right message. Shortly before the attack in El Paso began on Saturday, he posted a manifesto on an online forum called 8chan. It expressed a desire to kill as many Hispanics as possible, claiming they were replacing native-born Americans and taking away job opportunities. 8chan has long been a home for users who want to discuss mass shootings and racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and antigay ideologies. Ayres, said the family is baffled by where he picked up some of the ideas contained in the manifesto, which seemed more sophisticated than the way he usually talked. His grandfather, Ayres said, “never got the impression that Patrick was going to a dark or strange place.” Since his arrest, Crusius has spoken at length to authorities. “He basically didn’t hold anything back,” El Paso Chief Greg Allen said. “He expected to die.”

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