The 21-year-old man accused of carrying out the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, confessed after surrendering and said he had been targeting Mexicans, US police said.
El Paso Detective Adrian Garcia said in an arrest warrant affidavit that Patrick Crusius emerged with his hands up from a vehicle stopped at an intersection shortly after last Saturday’s attack and told officers: “I’m the shooter.”
He said Crusius later waived some of his legal rights and agreed to speak to detectives, telling them he was targeting Mexicans during his attack at a Walmart.
Twenty-two people were killed and about two dozen others were wounded.
Many of the dead had Latino last names and eight of them were Mexican nationals. El Paso sits on the border with Mexico.
Authorities believe that shortly before the attack, Crusius posted a racist screed online that railed against an influx of Hispanics into the US.
The document parrots some of President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric about immigration but the writer said his views pre-date Mr Trump’s rise and that any attempt to blame the president for his actions was “fake news”.
Many El Paso residents, protesters and Democrats have criticised Mr Trump over his incendiary words, blaming him for inflaming political and racial tensions throughout the country.
Mr Trump has denied stoking division and violence, contending this week that he “brings people together. Our country is doing incredibly well”.
Authorities say Crusius drove more than 10 hours from his home town near Dallas to carry out the shooting in the largely Latino border city of El Paso.
A lawyer for the Crusius family, Chris Ayres, told The Associated Press that the rest of the family never heard Patrick Crusius use the kind of racist and anti-immigrant language that was posted in the online screed.
Crusius has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond. Federal prosecutors have said they are also considering hate-crime charges.