Austin police are considering the influence of anti-immigration rhetoric on the shooting suspect who opened fire on the city’s Mexican Consulate and other government buildings on Friday, according to Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Acevedo brought up the “potential” political motivation in a press conference Friday morning.
“When you look at the national debate right now about immigration, that … comes to mind. Sometimes our political discourse becomes very heated and sometimes very angry,” Acevedo said, as quoted by The Chicago Tribune.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) recently warned that an exectuive order on immigration by President Obama could spark “instances of anarchy” and “violence.”
“I would venture that political rhetoric might have fed into some of this, but that is speculation on my part,” the police chief also said, according to USA Today. “If you look at the targets, it doesn’t take a genius that that is the potential.”
Police described the suspect as a white male in his 50s with a criminal history. After a brief exchange of gunfire with police, the gunman was killed around 2:30 a.m., according to the police chief. Authorities say it remains unclear whether the shooter was killed by police fire or took his own life.
Officers searched the suspect’s vehicle as well as his home in north Austin, according to the Austin American Statesman.
The gunman targeted a U.S. federal courthouse, the Mexican consulate and police headquarters, the Statesman reports. Below is a map of the area between the three locations:
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