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Mexican Diplomat Says Austin Shooting Highlights Flawed US Gun Policies

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Filipa Rodrigues/KUT
McQuilliams attacked the Mexican Consulate with firearms and improvised explosive devices that did not detonate.

It appears that Larry Steve McQuilliams was motivated by racist ideology and anger at U.S. immigration policy when he attacked three buildings in Austin early last Friday, according to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. One of the three targeted buildings was the Mexican Consulate of Austin, which McQuilliams shot at and attempted to burn down with homemade bombs that did not detonate. 

Rosalba Ojeda, the Consul General of Mexico in Austin, works out of that building. She says the attack underlines Mexico’s long-standing concerns over U.S. gun laws.

"Arms are trafficked all over the country. They're bought and sold to individuals...there's no record of them," says Ojeda. "They can just go and buy any arms, and that, of course, makes it easier for anybody that's not in their right mind to commit something like what happened on Friday." 

The Government of Mexico has long criticized U.S. gun laws, especially laws that allow gun show attendees to purchase firearms without a background check. Officials say it is guns from those events that end up in the hands of drug cartels, fueling violence in Mexico. 

McQuilliams was a convicted felon who could not legally possess firearms. Police say that they’re looking into how the shooter obtained his weapons, and whether one of them was an automatic rifle. 

He was ultimately brought down by a shot from a police officer. No one other than McQuilliams was injured or killed in the shooting spree.

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