Man hailed by Trump for El Paso shooting bravery was 'inaccurate' about his actions, police say

Chris Grant was honored for his "courage" in a ceremony at the White House, but police say video evidence "does not support Mr. Grant’s assertions."
Image: President Donald Trump awards Medal of Valor and heroic commendations to first responders of the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, on Sept. 9, 2019.
President Donald Trump awards Medal of Valor and heroic commendations to first responders of the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, on Sept. 9, 2019.Erin Scott / Reuters

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A Texas man who was honored by President Donald Trump for his "courage, character, and strength" on Monday was "inaccurate" when he told a reporter he had bravely tried to thwart the shooter at an El Paso Walmart last month, according to police.

"I did what any good man would have done," Chris Grant told CNN's Chris Cuomo from his hospital bed, following the Aug. 3 shooting that left 22 people dead. He said when he heard the shots, he shielded his mother as he ushered her to safety and then decided to confront the shooter.

"I started throwing random bottles at him," he said. "I'm not a baseball player, so one went this way, one went that way." But he said one of the bottles hit the shooter, who then targeted and shot him.

Grant was wounded, but El Paso Police Department spokesman Enrique Carrillo told NBC News that "Mr. Grant provided an inaccurate account of the actions he took."

Carrillo said that hours of surveillance footage reviewed by detectives "does not support Mr. Grant’s assertions."

"We are not demeaning his reaction, which are of basic human instincts, but they amount to an act of self-preservation and nothing above that," Carrillo said.

Grant was honored by Trump in a Medals of Valor and Heroic Commendations ceremony at the White House Monday. In the East Room ceremony, Trump honored six police officers who responded to the Dayton, Ohio, shooting that left nine people dead, and five El Paso residents "who displayed tremendous bravery" during the shooting there a day earlier.

"Chris grabbed — listen to this — soda bottles and anything else in front of him, and began hurling them at the gunman, distracting him from the other shoppers and causing the shooter to turn toward Chris and fire at Chris, whereby Chris suffered two serious gunshot wounds," Trump said during the ceremony, according to a transcript.

"But he is recovering well and we wish him the best. His family is here. So please thank Chris for us, please," Trump said. Grant's mother received the honor on her son's behalf.

President Donald Trump presents a Certificate of Commendation to Mimi Grant, the mother of Christopher Grant, one of five civilians celebrated for their heroism during a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Sept. 9, 2019.Andrew Harnik / AP

Multiple media outlets reported that Grant was arrested by Secret Service officers on the day of the ceremony. A Secret Service spokesperson said the agency doesn't identify people they arrest, but confirmed that a White House visitor was temporarily detained on Monday on an active arrest warrant.

The nature of the warrant and agency that issued it were not clear, and Carrillo said it did not stem from the El Paso Police Department.

Efforts to reach Grant were unsuccessful. A woman who said she is Grant's sister, who posted photos of the White House ceremony on Facebook, did not respond to a request for comment. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.

The suspected El Paso Walmart shooter Patrick Crusius, 21, was indicted on a capital murder charge Thursday. Prosecutors say Crusius surrendered after the attack, telling police "I'm the shooter" and that he was targeting Mexicans.