El Paso shooting victim honored by Trump gave wasn’t hero, police say
El Paso Times
Published 10:43 AM EDT Sep 12, 2019
An El Paso shooting victim’s claim that he threw soda bottles to distract the Walmart shooter has fizzled after he was honored by President Donald Trump.
Chris Grant was shot and wounded but his actions were “an act of self-preservation and nothing above that,” said Sgt. Enrique Carrillo, spokesman for the El Paso Police Department.
Grant was one of five El Pasoans presented certificates of commendation for heroism on Monday at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
The White House never checked with the El Paso Police Department regarding the people given commendations for heroism at Walmart, a police spokesman said.
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The Police Department said that Grant’s account of heroism does not match what detectives found in store security video. Grant could not be reached for comment.
Grant had been in an induced coma and woke up at University Medical Center of El Paso two days after the shooting, thinking it was still the Saturday of the deadly attack.
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Grant in a hospital bed interview first given to CNN claimed that he threw bottles at the gunman to distract him. The shooter then turned toward Grant and fired.
President Trump referenced Grant’s soda-bottle defense during the ceremony.
“Chris Grant was picking out snacks for his kids when he suddenly saw the murderer firing at innocent shoppers a few aisles away from him,” Trump said.
“Chris grabbed — listen to this — soda bottles and anything else in front of him, and began hurling them at the gunman, distracting him from other shoppers and causing the shooter to turn toward Chris and fire at Chris, whereby Chris suffered two serious gunshot wounds,” Trump said.
In the television interview, Grant “provided an inaccurate account” of his actions during the shooting, according to the El Paso Police Department statement.
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Detectives reviewed hours of video footage of what law enforcement officials described as a domestic terror attack that killed 22 people and wounded 25 others.
“The video evidence of the scene does not support Mr. Grant’s assertions,” Carrillo said in a statement.
“His actions were captured by surveillance cameras and they are not as described by Mr. Grant,” Carrillo said. “We are not demeaning his reaction which are of basic human instincts but they amount to an act of self-preservation and nothing above that.”
Grant was among shooting victims who were part of a roundtable discussion about public safety last month with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and elected and business leaders in El Paso.
Follow Daniel Borunda on Twitter: @BorundaDaniel.