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Gov. Abbott forms Domestic Terrorism Task Force in wake of El Paso shooting

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Local political leaders are weighing in on the new task force. Both the McLennan county Democrats and Republicans agree, that this task force could set an example to follow nationwide but want less talking and action.

“Identifying white racists or any type of racists who may pose a threat to anybody,” said Governor Greg Abbott.

It’s the same sentiment shared by McLennan County Democratic Chair Mary Duty.

” We’ve got a population of young white men that are afraid. They are hate-filled and they will get in their car and drive all the way to El Paso to go kill people that look different from them,” said Duty.

However, her republican counterparts believe mental health should really be the focus of this new team.

” If we fail to fully investigate the mental status of the operator, then we are missing the mark,” said John Ker, Mclennan County Republican Chairmen.

” And a lot of the people who are doing the shootings are fearful of the unknown, they are fearful of what’s going to happen to them. That’s in that sense maybe there may be a mental health component,” said Duty.

Another topic they want the task force to address, access to certain firearms.

“Things that are available to certain people on the market, we need to look at it,” said Ker.

” I think we found that those high-powered weapons with high-capacity magazines are the weapons of choice when you want to kill a bunch of people in a hurry,” said Duty.

But both parties agree there needs to be more action because talking has become redundant.

“So I applaud the governor in establishing a task force to look at this and make recommendations for a resolution of how can we best handle this,” said Ker.

“It worries me that we’ll continue to talk, and we’ll continue to talk. Do something! When are we going to do something,” said Duty.

The group’s first meeting is August 30.

Original story:

AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Abbott announced Wednesday that he has formed a Domestic Terrorism Task Force in the wake of the El Paso shooting that killed 22 people.

The shooter later confessed to police that he was trying to “kill as many Mexicans as possible.”

Abbott also directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to increase efforts in combating domestic terrorism, including by having DPS agents assist the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and increasing the number of DPS agents conducting investigations into gangs affiliated with white supremacist groups.

“Our top priority is to keep Texans safe in their communities. Part of that mission is to combat domestic terrorism and root out the extremist ideologies that fuel hatred and violence in our state. This task force brings together leaders with the expertise Texas needs to develop effective strategies and combat domestic terrorism.”

Gov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Abbott will be in Tyler on Thursday night for a town hall that will be broadcast exclusively on KETK. It is set to start at 7 p.m. at UT Tyler.

With the El Paso shooting fresh on the public’s mind, he is almost certain to face questions on what his administration is doing to protect Texans from these kinds of attacks in the future.

It is one of two significant mass shootings that have occurred in Texas since Abbott took office in 2015.

26 people were killed a Sutherland Springs church in 2017 in what is still the fifth-worst mass shooting in American history.

Abbott’s office said the task force will have four main objectives:

  • Analyzing current and emerging threats in Texas, and developing strategies that government entities can take to prevent and respond to such threats.
  • Studying ways to increase interagency cooperation and collaboration between local, state, and federal agencies.
  • Developing model tools, policies, and protocols to assist in fighting domestic terrorism.
  • Providing advice and recommendations regarding state homeland security strategic planning, and relevant legislative recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature.

The task force will be comprised of the following members:

  • Governor Greg Abbott
  • Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
  • Attorney General Ken Paxton 
  • Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen 
  • Colonel Steve McCraw, Department of Public Safety
  • Chief W. Nim Kidd, Texas Division of Emergency Management
  • Major General Tracy Norris, Texas Military Department
  • Executive Director Amanda Crawford, Texas Department of Information Resources
  • Executive Director Carter Smith, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
  • Members of the United States Customs and Border Patrol
  • Members of the United States Secret Service
  • John Bash, United States Attorney — Western District of Texas 
  • Jeff Murray, Department of Homeland Security
  • Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • K. Sunshine Stanek, District Attorney for Lubbock County
  • Greg Allen, El Paso Police Chief 
  • Sheriff Eddie Guerra, Hidalgo County
  • Captain Anthony Carter, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, North Texas Fusion Center

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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