Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard on Sunday denounced Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso, calling it “an act of terrorism against the Mexican-American community and Mexican nationals in the United States.”
He also announced actions to protect Mexicans in the United States, ask the U.S. government for access to its investigation into the shooting, and possibly request the extradition of the shooter to face charges in Mexico.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday that six Mexican nationals were killed in the mass shooting at a shopping center. Seven others were wounded.
A total of 20 people were killed and more than two dozen injured; 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen, Texas, stands accused of the massacre.
Earlier on Sunday, Ebrard, in a video on Twitter, announced that Mexico would take legal action against the United States over Saturday's mass shooting.
“Mexico declares its profound rejection and complete condemnation of this barbaric act, in which innocent Mexican men and women lost their lives,” Ebrard said the video.
Ebrard added that López Obrador had instructed him to make sure “the position, the indignation of Mexico, translates first in protecting the affected families," and that there be “effective, prompt, expeditious and forceful legal actions for Mexico“ to protect Mexicans in the United States.
At a news conference following the Twitter announcement, Ebrard said that Mexico is outraged by the shooting and warned that "we will act with reason and adherence to the law, but firmly."
The foreign affairs secretary announced several immediate actions the Mexican government was planning to take in response to the shooting.
Ebrard said his office and consulates are in contact with the affected families, and that they plan to accompany them and represent them in the investigation process. In addition, starting Monday, meetings will be held in Texas, California, Chicago, New York and Atlanta with the consuls of Mexico in the United States to expand the protocols for care and protection of Mexicans.
"We are also calling for a meeting of Spanish-speaking countries with communities in the United States," Ebrard said, to safeguard “the culture and rights” of their citizens in the U.S.
He added that the Mexican government also plans to move forward with the corresponding legal actions against whoever is responsible for the shooting and will ask U.S. authorities for access to the investigation. They will also send a diplomatic note Monday to the U.S. government to respectfully, but firmly, ask that it take a clear and strong position on hate crimes.
"We are going to ask for access to see how this weapon was sold and how it came to their hands. And to know if the authorities knew about the potential of this individual," Ebrard said.
The Attorney General's Office, he said, will then analyze whether a complaint for terrorism against Mexicans in the United States will be filed. But they may also request to extradite the gunman.
“For Mexico, this individual is a terrorist,” he said.