EL PASO, Texas – The chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus says the shooting death of 20 people at a Walmart in El Paso was a “vile act of terrorism against Hispanic Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio released the following statement:

“I am deeply shocked and saddened by today’s mass shooting in El Paso. Innocent Americans lost their lives to hate. 

“This vile act of terrorism against Hispanic Americans was inspired by divisive racial and ethnic rhetoric and enabled by weapons of war. 

“The language in the shooter’s manifesto is consistent with President Donald Trump’s description of Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’ Today’s shooting is a stark reminder of the dangers of such rhetoric.

“Hispanic Americans and immigrants have been directly and violently attacked. This crime was intentional violence to strike fear in our communities, for our lives, and for our families. 

“In the aftermath, I’ve heard troubling reports of victims of the shooting refusing to seek help because of their immigration status. If you need medical attention or help finding a loved one, do so immediately. There are community groups ready to assist you.”

A mass shooting at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso left 20 people dead and 26 injured.

Customs & Border Protection said it would not be operating enforcement operations at El Paso hospitals or family reunification centers or shelters. In a tweet the West Texas office of CBP said:

“Please be aware that CBP personnel including Border Patrol agents + Field Operations officers have returned to their regular duties. We are not conducting enforcement operations at area hospitals, the family reunification center or shelters. We stand in support of our community.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz issued a statement Sunday regarding an investigation of the shootings in El Paso.

“Over the last day, the outpouring of support for the victims, first responders, and local authorities in El Paso has been overwhelming and heartening. In response to this despicable hate meant to divide us, the people of El Paso immediately and powerfully came together,” Cruz said.

“As the son of a Cuban immigrant, I am deeply horrified by the hateful anti-Hispanic bigotry expressed in the shooter’s so-called ‘manifesto.’ This ignorant racism is repulsive and profoundly anti-American. We must speak clearly to combat evil in any form it takes. What we saw yesterday was a heinous act of terrorism and white supremacy. There is no place for this in El Paso, in Texas, or anywhere across our nation.

“We are all Americans and we are all standing united with El Paso.”

Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, a native of El Paso and former U.S. representative and city council member for the city, said he will visit Del Sol Medical Center this morning to visit families of the victims of the shooting. 

“Following the tragic and hate-filled actions carried out on the community of El Paso, Beto will attend the community vigil organized by Las Americas and Change The Ref,” a statement from the O’Rourke campaign said.

Change the Ref is an organization founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver following the death of their son, Joaquin, in Parkland, Florida. “Their son would have turned 19 years old today, August 4, and they planned to celebrate his life, activism, and love of the immigrant community with a permanent mural at Las Americas’ headquarters,” the O’Rourke news advisory said.

The Texas Border Coalition said the shootings have left El Paso and communities across Texas “shaken and in disbelief.”

Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz chairs the TBC. Saenz said:

“The Texas Border Coalition extends its deepest condolences to the families who lost precious loved ones in the heinous attack at Cielo Vista Mall yesterday morning in El Paso. Our hearts are also with the injured, their families, and everyone affected by this senseless act of violence.

“We are thankful for the courage and dedication of local law enforcement and medical personnel who serve the El Paso community, as well as the first responders who raced to scene and saved countless lives.

“This is a terrible act that has left El Paso and communities across Texas shaken and in disbelief. As we process this tragedy, our border communities feel enormous solidarity with El Paso and all of its citizens, and we will continue to stand with them in the days and weeks to come.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story was taken by EPA.