El Paso shooting could have $8 million impact on county budget, officials say

El Paso News

Police officers walk behind a Walmart at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. Patrick Crusius, 21, opened fire Saturday at the mall that largely caters to the local Mexican-American community. (AP Photo/John Locher)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – In the days following Saturday’s mass shooting, El Paso County officials are considering the financial impact the tragedy will have on the county’s budget.

“It could be a…huge impact on us,” one commissioner said at Thursday’s special budget meeting.

Members of the district attorney’s office, city council, medical examiner’s office, county attorney’s office, and other county agencies met on Tuesday to discuss the potential future costs associated with the shooting.

According to Budget Director Wallace “Wally” Hardgrove, the shooting could have an impact of up to $8 million in the coming fiscal years, assuming the case goes to trial.

Hardgrove added that a portion of that money would go to the medical examiner’s office, where supplies were quickly exhausted to treat the dozens of victims.

County Chief Administrator Betsy Keller said she and other staff members examined budgets of other counties that experienced similar incidents.

She says the public defense cost of Aurora, Colo. — where 12 people were killed in a movie theater shooting — was upwards of $4 million.

Keller added that El Paso County will need to apply for financial assistance in order to cover the lofty expense.

“We will apply for funding and assistance for that, but…we believe it will not cover the whole expense,” she said.

Watch the commissioners’ full special budget meeting below:

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