Austin shooting spree labeled 'homegrown terrorism'

U.S. Marshal shares concerns of Homeland Security secretary

SAN ANTONIO – A shooting spree in Austin last Friday was the work of a homegrown terrorist, according to the U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas, Robert Almonte.

Armed with what appeared to be an assault rifle, Larry McWilliams fired more than 100 rounds as he shot up four government buildings, including the U.S. Courthouse, before he was shot and killed by police.

"One of the concerns that is of increasing importance to us is the homegrown extremist," Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said during a speech in San Antonio on Tuesday.

Mayorkas was addressing a luncheon meeting of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association.

He said that a number of factors usually lead to a terrorist's development. Mental illness, drug addition and economic challenges top the list, according to Mayorkas.

Almonte, who also attended the luncheon, said, "For whatever reason -- political beliefs, religious beliefs -- they want to harm their own people."

He said among the problems law enforcement faces in combating homegrown terrorism is that terrorists are impossible to identify visually.

"It really doesn't matter what color a person is -- male of female -- white, black, brown," Almonte said. "It does not matter. We just need people to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior."

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