It took just 30 seconds in Ohio and zero bullets in Texas for officers to stop two mass shooters this weekend, but not before 29 people were killed and about 50 injured in less than 24 hours.
Officers gunned down the Ohio shooter at the doorstep of a bar-turned-hiding place in the middle of Dayton’s nightclub district, and arrested the El Paso shooter as hundreds fled a crowded shopping center. Though the two attacks staggered a nation accustomed to gun violence, the bigger shock may have been that the death toll wasn’t worse.
In the Texas border city of El Paso, a gunman opened fire Saturday morning in a shopping area packed with thousands of people during the busy back-to-school season. The attack killed 20 and wounded more than two dozen, many of them critically.
Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman wearing body armor and carrying extra magazines opened fire in a popular nightlife area, killing nine and injuring at least 26 people.
The attacks came less than a week after a 19-year-old gunman killed three people and injured 13 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in California before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The El Paso shooting was being investigated as a possible hate crime as authorities worked to confirm whether an anti-immigrant creed posted online shortly beforehand was written by the man arrested. The border city is home to 680,000 people, many of them Latino.
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El Paso authorities offered few details about the assault, but Police Chief Greg Allen described the scene as “horrific” and said many of the 26 people who were hurt had life-threatening injuries.
Across the country, the Dayton shooter was reportedly a self-declared Satanist and far-left radical with Antifa sympathies.
The bloodshed in Ohio was likely limited by the swift police response. Officers patrolling the area took just 30 seconds to stop the shooting, which unfolded around 1 a.m. on the streets of the downtown Oregon District, Mayor Nan Whaley said. Video released by police shows 24-year-old being shot down by officers, just steps away from entering a bar filled with hiding patrons.
Had police not responded so quickly, “hundreds of people in the Oregon District could be dead today,” Whaley said.
His sister was among those killed in Dayton.
Authorities identified the El Paso suspect as 21-year-old from Allen, a Dallas suburb which is a nearly 10-hour drive from El Paso.
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El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said he knew the shooter was not from his city.
“It’s not what we’re about,” the mayor said at a news conference with Gov. Greg Abbott and the police chief.
President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that Washington “must come together” in the wake of the shootings “to get strong background checks” for gun users. But he provided no details on what sort of legislation he would support.
Trump suggested Monday that a background check bill could be paired with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation’s immigration system.
The Associated Press contributed to this article