An attorney for the family of the man charged in the El Paso shootings said the man's mother contacted police weeks before the rampage out of concern that her son had a rifle.
Twenty-two people died and dozens were injured after a white gunman targeting a Hispanic area opened fire at a Walmart in the border city Saturday.
Dallas attorney Chris Ayres told The Associated Press the call was made to police in the suspected shooter's town of Allen, Texas, a Dallas suburb.
Ayres and fellow attorney R. Jack Ayres told CNN that the suspect's mother contacted the Allen Police Department to ask about an "AK"-type firearm he owned. Thursday, Chris Ayres confirmed the report to USA TODAY.
The attorneys said the mother was only seeking information and wasn't motivated by a concern that her son was a threat to anybody. They said the mother didn't identify herself or her son in the call.
The lawyers told CNN the mother was concerned about her son's age, maturity level and lack of experience but was told by a public safety officer that her son, who is 21, was legally allowed to possess the weapon.
A family statement sent by Chris Ayres to USA TODAY said the suspected shooter acted outside the family's teachings and values.
"He was raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect, and tolerance - rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice, hatred, and violence," the statement says. "There will never be a moment for the rest of our lives when we will forget each and every victim of this senseless tragedy."
Sgt. Jon Felty, Allen police spokesman, said he couldn't confirm the call.
"I have nothing in the database to support this claim," he told USA TODAY on Thursday.
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Police said Patrick Crusius drove 580 miles from Allen to El Paso, which has a high concentration of Latinos, after posting a racist screed online.
Authorities said he surrendered to police with his hands up about a quarter-mile from the El Paso Walmart where the attack happened.
He faces charges of capital murder in state court and may face federal hate crime charges that could carry a death sentence if he's convicted.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: El Paso shooting: Mom called police about son's gun, lawyer says