In El Paso mass shooting, acts of heroism among chaos and terror

At least 22 people are dead and more than two dozen people were wounded in the massacre Saturday when a gunman opened fire inside a Walmart crowded with shoppers drawn to a back-to-school sale.
9:06 | 08/06/19

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Transcript for In El Paso mass shooting, acts of heroism among chaos and terror
sense of the senseless. Run. Reporter: Scenes of chaos. Eerily similar. Go, go! Come on! Reporter: But more than 1500 miles apart. I miss her. I'd give my life in trade for Reporter: Stories of loss and heartbreak now spanning the nation. I just wish she would just wake up in a hospital and be like I'm okay, it's just a little graze. But she's really gone. Reporter: Two deadly mass shootings leaving 31 dead and 53 injured. Once again Americans are coming to grips with this tragic reality. Everyday people going about their lives, killed in cold blood. This time in El Paso at a shopping center. And in Dayton in front of a popular bar. The 13 hours of horror first began Saturday morning in Texas when a gunman opened fire in a Walmart parking lot. He just walked into Walmart very confidently and, you know, it looked like he was on a mission. Reporter: According to authorities he would later say that mission was to kill as many hispanics as possible. He said that he would strike down unsuspecting shoppers as he walked in. The store packed with thousands of patrons, many there looking for back to school supplies. People hiding, fleeing for their lives. Some crawling on the ground seeking cover under benches. The gunfire relentless. Kendall long ran to the back of the store with his wife Kianna taking cover in a metal storage container. After these people started running you could hear the different fire rate. He starts pop, pop, pop, he's going for the -- he's tgger finger, he's going, going, going. Reporter: Some shoppers recording video on their cell phones. Gun in Walmart right now. Ak. Somebody just got shot. Reporter: Within minutes S.W.A.T. Teams respond to the reports of an active shooter. We need tactical units to go ahead and start responding to the Walmart. Reporter: The entire area placed on lockdown as authorities worked to track down the shooter. And in the midst of the chaos paramedics and everyday citizens stepping in, Wheeling the injured out in shopping carts. U.S. Army private glendon Oakley was at a nearby store and ran toward the sound of the gunfire, picking up lost children in the parking lot and carrying them to safety. I don't want to talk about what went on there because I just want to forget about it all. I just want to focus on the people that has lost their loved I don't want to focus on what happened. The first thing we heard was three loud shots. But they sounded like fireworks. Reporter: Adrian Gonzalez was in the story with her mother when she says she spotted the shooter. I saw his expression. He was -- like he didn't care what he was doing. He was just shooting. And shooting. Reporter: As a military wife she says that instinct kicked in and she tried to save those around her. You want to do everything that you can. But then you realize you can't save everybody. Reporter: One particular person still haunts her. A senior citizen she tried to help but amidst the chaos just couldn't. I tried to get her out but she stayed there and the only thing I said quietly was just stay down, don't -- pretend that you're dead. That's what I told her. I haven't heard of her. I'm praying that she is still alive. Reporter: 22 innocent lives lost and dozens more injured. Among those hurt, one as young as two months old. It's believed his mother, 25-year-old Jordan anchando, died while shielding him. The baby found covered in blood but alive. His father Andre was killed too. ABC's David Muir spoke with their family. Zplt baby had bruises on his head, broken fingers, and he was full of blood. It happened to be his parents' blood on the baby. Thankfully he's okay. Reporter: For hours some family members searched for their loved ones. Eddie halburg made this desperate plea for help in finding her 86-year-old mother. I got tired of waiting and waiting and waiting and I just want to know where my mom is. Reporter: Today we learned her mother, Angie englisbee, was identified as one of those killed. Also among the dead, 15-year-old Javier Rodriguez. The soccer-loving local teen was set to start his sophomore year in high school. Many decrying that one life lost is too many. But there's no escaping the fact that these incidents are happening more and more. The gun violence archive puts the number of mass shootings this year at 255. Those are incidents where four or more individuals were wounded, not including the gunman. When it comes to the El Paso attack, the FBI believes the shooter specifically targeted his victims because they were of hispanic descent. Officials say he traveled more than 600 miles, a ten-hour drive from Allen, Texas to El Paso, a border town that's quietly proud of its mixed heritage. The cielo vista mall where the attack took place, located just five miles from the u.s.-mexico border. Many Mexican nationals cross the border to shop there. We're afraid to go out to we're afraid to go out to the street because we feel like we're being hunted. I mean, because of our color, skin color. Reporter: Authorities say the shooter first entered the Walmart unarmed, scouted the store, and upon seeing the large number of hispanic shoppers exited and minutes later returned armed, as seen by surveillance images obtained by KTSM. 20 minutes after the first shot was fired -- Come on! Reporter: Police would apprehend the suspect just a few blocks from the scene. So far we have one subject and he's in custody. Reporter: Authorities say an assault-style rifle similar to an ak-47 and several magazines were recovered from the scene. The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Patrick crusius. The state charge is capital murder. And so he is eligible for the death penalty. We will seek the death penalty. Reporter: His attack was detailed and posted on the online message board 8chan just 20 minutes before the shooting. A four-page racist and hate-filled rant decrying what he he referenced as hispanic invasion of Texas. We are treating it as a domestic terrorism case and we're going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is deliver swift and certain justice. Reporter: That controversial site 8chan is the place that three recent mass shooters chose to announce their terror plans. Overnight 8chan's network provider cloudflare took the website down, calling it a cesspool of hate. Suspects talking about all these Jews need to die. Reporter: This past may FBI officials warned the number of hate crimes by white supremacists in America is on the rise. There have been more arrests and deaths in the United States caused by domestic terrorists than international terrorists in recent years. Reporter: According to the FBI there are approximately 850 domestic terror cases currently being investigated and a significant portion of those cases involve racial and ethnic hatred. Earlier today president trump condemned the actions of the shooter. In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Reporter: Blaming the dark recesses of the internet. We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. Reporter: But democratic candidates pointed to trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric as having contributed to the violence. This president sought to make this country afraid of places like El Paso and the people who live here. Immigrants specifically who he's described as rapists and criminals, warning of an invasion and talking about an infestation. He is in large part responsible for what has taken place. El Paso's strong. I think we will get through this. We will. Reporter: Over the weekend America's tragic roll call grew a little longer. Las Vegas, 58 killed. Orlando, 49 killed. Virginia tech, 32 killed. And now El Paso, 22 killed. This is my home. And it hurts a lot. He took so many innocent lives. Reporter: Another community left grieving, marred by a senseless tragedy. And just 13 hours later in Dayton, Ohio the nightmare would begin all over again. Stay with us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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