The El Paso shooting suspect’s mother called the Allen, Texas, Police Department weeks before the shooting because she was concerned about her son owning an “AK” type firearm, lawyers for the family confirmed to CNN.
The mother contacted police because she was worried about her son owning the weapon given his age, maturity level and lack of experience handling such a firearm, attorneys Chris Ayres and R. Jack Ayres said.
During the call, the mother was transferred to a public safety officer who told her that – based on her description of the situation – her son, 21, was legally allowed to purchase the weapon, the attorneys said. The mother did not provide her name or her son’s name, and police did not seek any additional information from her before the call concluded, they added.
It is not known whether the gun the mother inquired about is the weapon used in the attack.
Police initially were unable to confirm the call. But on Thursday, after CNN’s story published, police reviewed phone records and found that on June 27 a call had come in from a concerned mother.
Allen Police Sgt. Jon Felty said a public safety officer, who is not a sworn police officer, answered the mother’s questions about her son’s firearms possession and ownership at age 21. He said the mother was concerned that her son didn’t have any firearm safety training and didn’t have the emotional or intellectual maturity to own an ‘AK’ type firearm.
The public safety officer asked the mother twice whether her son was suicidal or had threatened any other persons, which she indicated was not the case, according to Felty.
Felty told reporters at a news conference that an internal security camera recorded one side of the conversation, and that the woman never identified herself or her son.
According to the family’s attorneys, the mother’s inquiry was “informational” in nature and was not motivated out of a concern that her son posed a threat to anybody.
“This was not a volatile, explosive, erratic behaving kid,” said Chris Ayres. “It’s not like alarm bells were going off.”
Family members declined further comment through their lawyers.
Crusius was a typical young man in some ways, confused about his path in life, according to another source familiar with the family. He was considering transferring to a four-year university, enlisting in the military and looking for a full-time job. “He was trying to figure out what to do next” the source said. “When did the wheels come off? We don’t know” the source added.
According to police, Crusius opened fire at an El Paso Walmart last Saturday killing 22 people and injuring more than two dozen others. He has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond at the El Paso County Detention Facility. District Attorney Jaime Esparza said his office will seek the death penalty.
Additionally, US Attorney John Bash said the Justice Department is “seriously considering” bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges.
A manifesto proclaiming white nationalist and racist views believed to be written by Crusius was posted on 8chan, an online messaging board, less than 20 minutes before the first 911 calls came in.
The four-page document rails against Hispanics and immigrants, blaming them for taking jobs away and the blending of cultures in the US.
This story has been updated to reflect comments from Allen police.
CNN’s Curt Devine contributed to this report.