Suspects in deadly 2-state shooting spree may face hate crime, terrorism charges

Authorities are considering hate crimes and terrorism charges against three suspects who killed one person and wounded several others during a two-state shooting spree last month.

The spree began just before 1 am on 26th November in Henderson, Nevada, when police responded to a convenience store where they found 22-year-old Kevin Mendiola Jr. and four other people including Mendiola’s girlfriend and younger brother wounded. More reports of shots fire came into police as they were responding to the store.

Several hours later, in Arizona, local and state officers responded to multiple calls about drive-by shootings. A state trooper spotted a vehicle that matched the description from both the Nevada and Arizona shootings and pursued until the vehicle veered off the highway and rolled.

Christopher McDonnell, 28; Shawn McDonnell, 30; and his wife Kayleigh Lewis, 25, were taken to hospitals for treatment of injuries.

Christopher McDonnell was taken to a hospital in Nevada and subsequently arrested by Henderson police, who charged him with murder, attempted murder, and shooting into a structure, the Review-Journal said. Shawn McDonnell and Lewis are in custody in La Paz County, Arizona, where they have been charged with two counts each of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and endangerment with a substantial risk of imminent death, according to La Paz County court records. Christopher McDonnell faces the same charges in Arizona.

All three of the suspects were from Tyler, Texas, where Christopher McDonnell was reportedly paroled from jail in August, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Nevada prosecutor Michael Schwartz told the Review-Journal that detectives are considering hate crime charges and charges connected to a “continued act of terrorism”. Christopher McDonnell allegedly told detectives that his older brother told him to “shoot the black guy” and made reference to an “upcoming war”.

Schwartz said at least 10 people possibly 11 were targeted in Henderson, while five separate shootings took place in Arizona.

By that time, Arizona authorities had issued a lookout for the suspect’s car, saying its occupants wee believed t have been involved in an “active shooter” situation involving “multiple shooting incidents”.