The mother of the El Paso shooting suspect called Texas police weeks before the shooting to relay concerns about the semi-automatic rifle her son had acquired, according to reports.
The call, to the City of Allen Police Department, was passed to a public safety officer who told the mother of Patrick Crusius, 21, that he was legally allowed to own the weapon, attorneys for his family told CNN. Allen, where the suspect is from, is a Dallas suburb some 580 miles from El Paso.
Lori Brown Crusius was concerned about her son’s age, maturity and lack of experience and whether he should therefore be allowed to own an “AK” type weapon, CNN reported.
The suspect is accused of killing 22 people and injuring 24 others in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, close to the border with Mexico. Police believe he uploaded a racist screed online, in which he wrote about a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Justice Department prosecutors are considering bringing federal hate crime and domestic terrorism charges––in addition to the state capital murder charges he already faces.
“There was no indication that he held these [white supremacist] views,” Chris Ayres, one of the family’s attorneys, told TIME in an email. “This was not the way he was raised, nor are such beliefs reflective of the values the family holds.”
His mother did not give her or her son’s name to Texas police and they did not seek any more information from her after the call, CNN quoted the family’s lawyers, Chris Ayres and R. Jack Ayres, as saying.
A spokesperson for the City of Allen Police Department tells TIME that they had no record of the call taking place, and could not confirm with certainty that it happened. Sergeant Jon Felty says: “We have no record of it at this point. Oftentimes people call and have questions. We don’t keep records of all those calls because they are so numerous. In this case there was nobody mentioned as a suspect or witness or anything else, so there would not be a record.”
Allen police on Thursday were trying to determine a date, time and phone number to find more information about the call, Felty says.
“The Allen Police Department did exactly what they should,” Ayres told TIME. “They answered and supplied assistance to a mother who learned her inexperienced, young son was obtaining a weapon. The Department answered questions and did everything required. The family remains grateful of what the Department has always done for them, including assistance in both the past and present.”
It is unclear whether the AK-style rifle his mother was concerned about was the one allegedly used in the attack.
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