Former classmates of the El Paso gunman that killed 22 people on Saturday at a Walmart describe him as an odd and socially awkward person. But they say nothing they saw in class would've led them to predict he'd be connected to something like this.
Doctors said Monday they are still treating dozens more and many are critically injured.
The shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, is from Allen. Plano ISD confirms he graduated from Plano Senior High School in 2017. He also attended Collin College until as recently as this past spring.
As the death toll rises in El Paso, those who knew Patrick are reflecting on the person they thought they knew.
Stephanie Harrelson is a former classmate who sat next to Patrick every day during an art appreciation class they took last semester at Collin College's Frisco campus.
“He was very introverted but quiet,” she recalled. “Whenever he did speak, it was strange off-the-wall statements.”
Another classmate who wanted to remain anonymous says Patrick gave off a 'weird vibe' and would always mutter to himself and zoned out in class. No one wanted to associate with him because he seemed off.
But despite Patrick’s strange behavior, classmates say none of it was an alarming red flag and they were shocked to see his picture all over social media.
“Then I read the caption and it said he was in connection with the El Paso shooting, and my jaw just dropped,” Harrelson said. “I was shook. Like, I sat next to him for a whole semester. The last couple classes, he didn't attend.”
A lengthy manifesto that Patrick published online ranted about race and identity, but those thoughts aren't anything he made public to classmates.
“I never got the vibe that that was the case. He never told me anything that would make me think he was against anybody,” Harrelson said. “I wish he would've reached out if he was having these feelings that he felt like he needed to handle on his own that were just off the wall. Just evil.”
Employees at Collin College said they were notified by email that Patrick was a student there. The college sent out a statement over the weekend saying they will fully cooperate with authorities in their investigation.
No answer at the last known address in Plano for Bryan Crusius, Patrick’s father. Bryan ran Infused Being Therapy and Counseling out of Richardson. A person at the location he shares says he’s an independent contractor. His business website touts drug addiction treatment, among other therapies.
Although Bryan has not addressed the shooting publicly, he wrote a self-published book in which he described his own troubled life. He says he battled drug addiction for four decades and recounts being arrested for shoplifting in 2011, the same year he and Patrick’s mother divorced.
Of that time, Bryan wrote: “I had slipped deeper into victimhood. I had no sense of clarity. I took responsibility for nothing. I let everything unravel.”
Aside from the shoplifting incident, court records show Bryan has a Houston drug conviction from 1976 and received a year of probation.
A friend of Patrick’s twin sister said he hadn’t seen Patrick in two years but remembers he wore baggy clothes, didn’t care much about his appearance and “seemed off.” That friend went on to say he supports gun rights and feels for the Crusius family. But he said he has no sympathy for Patrick, even if mental health issues were at play. He called the attack, which appears to target a specific group, “atrocious.”
Patrick has been booked on capital murder charges and is now being investigated for domestic terrorism.