2 mass shootings in 24 hours shake the nation

Witnesses, local leaders and community members speak out in the wake of two mass shootings in one weekend; Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist reports.

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/ Source: TODAY
By TODAY, NBC News and Marguerite Ward

Two mass shootings in less than 24 hours have killed at least 29 people and injured 53 others in total.

The first shooting occurred Saturday in El Paso, Texas, when a gunman opened fire inside a Walmart store near the popular Cielo Vista Mall. It was crowded with families doing back-to-shopping one week ahead of the first day of classes. At least 20 people were killed 26 injured.

The alleged shooter appears to have purchased the gun used in the attack legally and is said to have posted a hate-filled essay just minutes prior to the massacre. The gunman is now in police custody and federal prosecutors are treating it as a case of domestic terrorism.

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Witnesses Kendall and Kianna Long described the panic when they heard gunshots and saw people running.

"It's just heartbreaking to know there were children inside," Long, mother to three children, said.

Heeding calls by emergency personnel, hundreds of people have lined up to donate blood for the victims in the aftermath.

The second shooting occurred in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday shortly after 1 a.m.

At least nine people were killed and 27 people injured in the heart of Dayton’s Oregon District. The shooter wore body armor and carried additional magazines, according to reports.

Local resident Anthony Reynolds, who was right by scene, described what he heard and saw.

Police were able to respond within one minute to the shooting.