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Most Americans expect next mass shooting to happen soon: Poll

Anti-Trump protesters are seen outside the makeshift memorial to the victims of the WalMart shooting that left a total of 22 people dead, in El Paso, Texas, on August 7, 2019. (AFP photo)

The majority of Americans expect another mass shooting will happen soon in the United States following the massacres last weekend that killed 36 people in Texas, Ohio and California, a new survey shows. 

Some 78 percent of Americans said it was “likely” that such an attack would take place in the next three months, while 49 percent who said one was “highly likely,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Friday.

Another 10 percent said a mass shooting was unlikely in three months and the rest said they did not know.

The latest incident of gun violence has rattled the the US and renewed calls for tougher gun laws. Two mass shootings took place earlier in August in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and a third in Gilroy, California, last month that left 36 people dead.

“You are on guard because you never know when it’s going to happen and where,” said Suzanne Fink, 59, a Republican from Troutman, North Carolina. “It has been happening much too often and it’s like a copycat effect.”

The nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive has tallied more than 250 mass shooting in the US so far this year alone, an average of more than one a day. Mass shooting are described as events in which four or more people are either shot and killed or shot and wounded.

The man accused of carrying out the deadly mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso has confessed that he was targeting Mexicans, according to an affidavit released on Friday by the El Paso police department.

“The defendant stated his target (was) Mexicans,” the affidavit said.

The suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, surrendered to police after the rampage and was taken into custody. He is accused of shooting and killing 22 people and wounding two dozen more last Saturday.

Crusius entered the Walmart in the predominantly Hispanic city of El Paso. with an AK47 and multiple magazines. Most of those listed as dead had Hispanic names.

The gunman explained his motivation in an online manifesto, decrying a “Hispanic invasion” of the United States.

Just hours later, a gunman wearing body armor and a mask opened fire in a crowded neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people, including his own sister.

Many El Paso residents, protesters and Democrats have blasted US President Donald Trump over his anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric, blaming the Republican president for inflaming political and racial tensions throughout the country.

The head of the powerful gun lobby in the United States on Thursday rejected calls for tougher restrictions on firearms, claiming they would not have prevented the recent mass shootings.

The director of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Wayne LaPierre, also said that he had spoken to Trump since the two massacres.

Trump expressed support for tightening background checks for gun purchases after the attacks.

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