According to the lawyers of the family of the suspected El Paso shooter, his mother called the police in their town of Allen, TX, weeks before the shooting out of concern that her son owned an “‘AK’ type firearm,” CNN reported Wednesday.
Attorneys Chris Ayres and R. Jack Ayres told CNN that Patrick Crusius’ mother worried about her son owning the firearm because of his age, maturity, and lack of experience with the weapon. They said that during the mother’s call, a public safety officer told her that based on what she told them, her son was legally allowed to purchase the weapon.
Gun laws are extremely relaxed in Texas—you must be 18 to purchase a gun, but 21 to buy one from a dealer with a federal firearms license, and there’s no state gun registration. The suspected shooter is 21, but it’s not known if the weapon his mother called the police about was used in the domestic terror attack in El Paso.
The family’s legal team also told the network the suspected shooter’s mother just called the police to ask questions about firearm laws, not because she was concerned that her son was going to hurt anyone with the gun he owned.
“This was not a volatile, explosive, erratic behaving kid,” Ayres said. “It’s not like alarm bells were going off.”
The lawyers told CNN the suspect’s mother didn’t provide her or her son’s name and that police didn’t ask for additional information. None of the Allen Police Department’s documents provided in a public records request documented the call from the mother. In a statement to CNN, police said the “entirety of our dealings” with the suspected shooter involved a false burglar alarm at the family’s home, a time when he was a bus passenger during a minor traffic accident, and a time when he ran away from home but returned half an hour later.
This is all fine and nice for the lawyers of a man charged with capital murder who may also be facing federal hate crime charges to say. But given that Crusius is charged with using a very similar high-powered rifle to kill 22 people and injure 24 others, the notion that their deaths perhaps could’ve been prevented doesn’t provide much solace.