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Family of suspected El Paso gunman say they don’t share his views

The family of the gunman accused of killing 22 people in an attack apparently aimed at Hispanics at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday say their son’s actions “were apparently influenced and informed by people we do not know.”

Patrick Wood Crusius, 21, was arrested, and prosecutors will seek the death penalty against him after the shooting rampage that also injured more than two dozen people.

Crusius is believed to have posted a screed online before the attack in which he expressed anti-immigrant views and included talking points about preserving European identity in America.

“Patrick’s actions were apparently influenced and informed by people we do not know, and from ideas and beliefs that we do not accept or condone, in any way,” his family said in a statement.

“He was raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect, and tolerance — rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice, hatred and violence,” the family said in the statement dated Tuesday and released by their attorney.

In the online screed linked to Crusius, the author claimed to have developed his beliefs before Donald Trump became president, criticized both Democrats and Republicans and expressed anti-government and anti-corporate views.

But some Democrats and other critics of Trump say Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigration have created a climate that emboldens extremists. Trump and his defenders have denied his rhetoric was to blame for the mass killing and accused Democrats of playing politics.

The attack is being investigated as a potential federal hate crime.