Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, reacted to the mass shooting at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall in his hometown of El Paso, Texas Saturday during a speech at the AFSCME forum in Las Vegas. Multiple people were killed and one person is in custody, according to El Paso police.
Beto O’Rourke emotionally responds to the news of a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas while at the AFSCME forum. pic.twitter.com/Fov2Y99gC0— HuffPost (@HuffPost) August 3, 2019
"I just learned on my way out here, in my hometown of El Paso, Texas, there is right now an active shooter or shooters at the Cielo Vista Mall," O'Rourke said. "And we've heard some initial reports of a very high number of people who have been injured right now, so I'm just thinking about El Paso. I want you to be thinking about El Paso as well. Just as I got the news, I called my wife Amy to talk to her — she's driving with my daughter Molly — and to talk to her."
He continued: "Just a real reminder of what's important at the end of the day for all of us and just that any illusion we had that progress is inevitable or that the change we need is going to come on its own accord, shared in moments like these. It's upon every single one of us. There is no luxury in a democracy of sitting this one out."
After his speech, O'Rourke's campaign manager said he is returning to El Paso and skipping the rest of the event in Las Vegas.
Beto is immediately returning home to El Paso. He is closely monitoring the situation and has spoken with local officials. Our campaign team is safe and accounted for. Thank you for sending your love to El Paso.— Jen O'Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) August 3, 2019
One law enforcement source told CBS News that early information reported two male shooters. El Paso police also tweeted they received reports of "multiple shooters."
One witness, Ray Holgin, told CBS News he heard at least 10 gunshots as he was about to enter the Walmart. Other witnesses have taken to Twitter to share their experiences and graphic videos of the scene.
According to CNN, there were at least 22 people injured, with 11 being treated at the University Medical Center of El Paso. Eleven others are being treated at Del Sol Medical Center.
"In El Paso, the Texas Dept. of Public Safety is assisting local law enforcement & federal authorities to bring this tragedy to the swiftest & safest possible conclusion," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted. "We thank all First Responders for their courageous response & urge all area residents to remain safe."
"Utterly heartbroken by the developing news in El Paso," U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, who now represents El Paso in Congress, tweeted. "Monitoring the situation and in communication with our law enforcement. Please stay safe."0comments
O'Rourke was born in El Paso and served on its city council from 2005 to 2011 before he was elected to represent the city in Congress. The city is located on the border with Mexico.
Photo credit: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic/Getty Images