Two mass shootings in the United States have claimed 29 lives within 24 hours and left dozens of others injured and hospitalized for treatment.
The first occurred in El Paso, Texas, where 20 people died in a shooting at an area Walmart store on a busy Saturday morning.
President Donald Trump described that attack as “an act of cowardice.” One suspect was taken into custody in the immediate aftermath while authorities were studying an extremist manifesto purportedly written by the gunman.
Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2019
Footage captured with cellphones showed multiple bodies lying on the ground in the store’s parking lot. Other footage showed terrified shoppers running out of the store as gunfire increased.
Police chief Greg Allen confirmed in addition to the 20 confirmed fatalities in El Paso, there were 26 wounded.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed three Mexican citizens were killed and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said six others were wounded.
Various news reports said the ages of victims being treated at hospitals ranged from two to 82 years.
Police said that Walmart was “at capacity” at the time of the shooting, with 1,000-3,000 customers inside.
A matter of hours later the second shooting tragedy played out in Dayton, Ohio. Nine were killed and another 26 injured in that mass shooting.
Mayor Nan Whaley said the injured were in several hospitals distributed throughout the city.
The shooting began at 01:07 local time in the Oregon district of the city centre, and police quickly confirmed they killed the gunman at the scene within a minute of him opening fire. they later called on the public for helping in their investigation:
— Dayton Police Dept. (@DaytonPolice) August 4, 2019
Whaley told reporters she was “amazed” by the quick response of the officers which she said prevented further deaths, but also stressed it would be a “very, very difficult time” for families of victims.
“As a mayor, this is a day that we all dread happening,” she said. “What’s very sad is I’ve got messages from mayors across the country – it’s sad that we’ve all gone through it.”
Assistant Police Chief Matt Carper had earlier told reporters patrol officers managed to take down the gunman.
“Our people are very well trained for a situation like this,” he said, adding it was “very fortunate that the officers were in close proximity”.
AFP contributed to this report