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Abbott, Patrick react after 20 die in deadly shooting

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    Ed Sterling

Capital Highlights

AUSTIN - After a gunman was arrested in the killing of 20 people and wounding 26 others at a popular shopping venue in El Paso Aug. 3, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered thoughts and prayers.

Abbott ordered flags lowered in memory of those who lost their lives and said flags should remain at half-staff through sunset Aug. 8.

The suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas, surrendered after waves of first responders arrived on scene.

Crusius was charged with capital murder. He remains in custody in El Paso.

Lawmaker to take new


Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, last week announced his retirement from the state House of Representatives, effective Sept. 30.

Zerwas, a physician for more than 30 years and past president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2007. He is the 29th most senior lawmaker in the 150-member lower chamber.

Zerwas currently serves as chair of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee and served in the same capacity in the 2017 Texas Legislature. He earlier served as chair of the House Committee on Higher Education.

On Aug. 1, the University of Texas System announced the appointment of Zerwas as executive vice chancellor for health affairs, effective Oct. 1.

Kevin Eltife, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents and a former state senator, said Zerwas “comes to the UT System with a very high regard among colleagues in the medical, business and legislative arenas.”

More than two-thirds of the UT System’s annual budget is dedicated to health care, education and research, and UT institutions produce almost two-thirds of the state’s health professionals, according to the UT System news release.