Rep. Veronica Escobar town hall cut short
A shooting at an El Paso Walmart forced a Texas congresswoman to abruptly cut short a Saturday town hall at a local high school.
Rep. Veronica Escobar, a freshman Democrat who represents El Paso, was roughly an hour into the town hall at the city’s Coronado High School when it appeared she received news of the shooting.
After she answered a question about conditions for migrants at the southern border, two people walked to the front of the auditorium and removed the microphone from her hand.
Shooter identified: A 21-year-old from Allen, Texas is facing capital murder charges
Get the latest updates: What we know about the Walmart shooting in El Paso
The scene, captured on a live video feed on the congresswoman’s Facebook page, shows a few seconds of inaudible speaking before Escobar again takes the microphone.
“You all, I am so sorry, there’s an active shooter. We are going to need to clear the event,” said Escobar. After an aide immediately tells her something, Escobar quickly clarified the incident was near Cielo Vista Mall, roughly 14 miles away.
El Paso Walmart shooting: Multiple people dead, 1 in custody near mall in Texas, police say
“Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, I apologize,” she told crowd. “Let’s take a deep breath. So we’ve been asked by law enforcement to just send everybody home.”
Police officials confirmed multiple fatalities in the shooting. Mayor Dee Margo told CNN three people are in custody, but he did not give a number of victims.
The El Paso Police Department tweeted about 1 p.m. EST that an active shooter was near the Walmart on the city’s east end. Authorities later confirmed the shooting occurred at a Walmart and police warned residents to stay away the mall.
Escobar later tweeted she was “utterly heartbroken” by the news of the shooting.
“Truly heartbreaking,” said former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who previously held Escobar’s seat in Congress. “Stay safe, El Paso. Please follow all directions of emergency personnel as we continue to get more updates.