SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn — In the immigrant stronghold of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, residents laid the blame for the Saturday mass shooting in El Paso at the feet of the president.
About 20 minutes before the shooting started, a rambling screed was posted to an online message board saying the massacre was in response to an "invasion" of Hispanics coming across the southern border.
“We’re not in El Paso,” said Claudia Carvajal of the Sunset Park Democrats. “But we’re a community of color. It brings a red flag. Like it could’ve been us”
Carvajal said President Donald Trump’s rhetoric is to blame.
“He’s not saying 'go and shoot immigrants,' but he’s saying 'we have an invasion at the border. They’re rapists,'" Carvajal said.
Community members cite, as an example a Panama City, Florida event back in May. When someone in the crowd called for shooting migrants at the border, the president laughed.
But the president struck a much different tone Monday in the wake of the shootings.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy," he said.
In Sunset Park where there were a number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, the immigrant community feels they’ve been targeted, again.
“The ICE raids that are happening that are impacting Mexican communities, the president has been really focused on criminalizing us as a community,” said Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who represents the Brooklyn neighborhood. “And now this? A targeted attack - it’s just too much."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.