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Federal authorities open domestic terrorism investigation into Gilroy shooting

This image shows a memorial poster with the words Gilroy Strong in front of a hashtag.
A makeshift memorial outside the site of the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 29, 2019. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Federal authorities said on Tuesday that they have launched a domestic terrorism investigation into the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, which killed two children ages 6 and 13 and a man in his 20s, the Los Angeles Times reports.

How we got here: A man identified as the suspect posted a reference to a racist manifesto on social media days before the shooting. The shooter had a "target list" that featured unspecified religious groups, U.S. buildings and members of both political parties, the FBI said Tuesday.

What's next: "[A]uthorities continue to try to determine a motive for the attack," per the L.A. Times. "Authorities have not determined whether the gunman was a white nationalist, but they have not ruled it out either," said John Bennett, the FBI special agent managing the case.

The big picture: The Gilroy attack is one of three high-profile mass shootings to take place in the past 10 days. The U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas said he will also be treating the shooting at an El Paso Walmart on Saturday as a domestic terrorism case. The motive behind the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, is not yet known.

  • The FBI Agents Association urged Congress on Tuesday to make domestic terrorism a federal crime, arguing that it would ensure FBI agents and prosecutors have the "best tools" to fight it. Because there is currently no clear federal domestic terrorism statute, the Justice Department cannot prosecute the case under the same terrorism laws applied to foreign nationals.

Go deeper ... What we know so far about the Gilroy Garlic Festival deadly shooting