- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 1, 2019

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Sunday that mass shootings “absolutely are a homeland security threat” after the rampage in West Texas that left seven dead and 21 injured.

“They absolutely are a homeland security threat,” Mr. McAleenan said on ABC’s “This Week.” “In our counterterrorism strategy and approach, domestic terrorism has taken a front line focus for us.”

The shooting, which began Saturday with a traffic stop in Midland, Texas, saw a gunman fire randomly at passersby, abandoning his vehicle and hijacking a postal truck before being killed at in gunfight with law enforcement in Odessa.

“The suspect continued shooting at innocent civilians all over Odessa before making his way to Cinergy on Highway 191,” said the Odessa police in a statement. “The suspect then shot an Odessa Police Department officer, along with a Midland Police Department officer. Law enforcement officers returned fire, killing the suspect.”

Authorities have said that the suspect is white male in his 30s, but have not released a name.



“I don’t want to jump to any conclusions on this event. We’re monitoring closely the reports, the investigative follow-up from state and local as well as the FBI, but it’s extraordinarily concerning,” said Mr. McAleenan. “It’s devastating.”

He noted that the shooting took place about 300 miles from El Paso, the site of an Aug. 3 mass shooting that saw a gunman kill 22 and injured 24 at a Walmart. The massacre is being investigated as a possible hate crime, and the suspect has been charged with capital murder.

“It’s a region that’s really felt the impact of mass attacks in recent weeks, and we’re very concerned about it, and we’ll be following up aggressively,” said Mr. McAleenan.

Since taking office in April, Mr. McAleenan said his department has set up an office targeting violence and prevention, with an “explicit” focus on domestic terrorism, “including racially motivated violent extremism, which we’ve seen too much of in the recent weeks and months.”

At the same time, he said he was comfortable with the resources for such efforts. “We actually have a ton of resources devoted to this kind of crime across the DHS components,” he said.

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