Authorities were picking through shattered glass and shell casings at an outdoor mall in the Dallas suburb of Allen on Sunday, hours after a gunman’s rampage left eight victims and the gunman dead and three more people clinging to life.
Amid the chaos as hundreds of shoppers at Allen Premium Outlets scrambled for cover, a police officer on an unrelated call heard the gunshots, engaged the suspect and “neutralized the threat,” Allen police said. Police have not released the identity of the shooter.
Six victims and the gunman died at the scene, authorities said. Nine people were transported to regional hospitals, where two died a short time later, police said. Three people were hospitalized in critical condition and four were stable.
The attack continues a troubling trend of mass shootings across the nation and in Texas. It comes a week after a gunman opened fire on neighbors in Cleveland, Texas, killing five people including a 9-year-old boy. Last May, a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, shot his grandmother before driving to an elementary and opening fire, killing 19 students and two teachers before being killed by police.
∙ Police Chief Brian Harvey said he believed the shooter acted alone. He asked that anyone who witnessed the attacks or had video from the scene to contact police.
∙ A vigil was scheduled for 5 p.m. local time Sunday at the Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in Allen.
Prayers and a ‘special place in hell’
The shooting brought the customary statements of sympathy and support from state and local officials. Mayor Ken Fulk issued a statement promising full support to families of the victims. He said Allen is a “proud and safe city” making the attack more shocking.
“We are a strong and caring community,” Fulk said. “We want all of the victims and their families impacted by this tragedy to know that we will wrap our arms around you, and we are here for you.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz said he and wife Heidi were “praying for the victims.” Gov. Greg Abbott, who like Cruz has consistently supported easing gun restrictions, pledged to ensure “all needed assistance and resources” would be swiftly deployed.
“Our hearts are with the people of Allen, Texas tonight during this unspeakable tragedy,” Abbott said in a statement.
Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Uvalde, took aim on social media at lawmakers who resist gun reform.
“There is a special place in hell for people who watch all this happen and choose to do nothing. #bloodontheirhands,” he tweeted.
What happened at the Allen Premium Outlets mall outside Dallas?
Police and witnesses said a gunman parked a gray Honda Accord outside the mall about 30 miles from downtown Dallas at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The man began shooting people walking on sidewalks outside the mall, a popular shopping spot with many upscale outlets such as Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein and Ann Taylor.
Dashcam video circulating online showed the gunman getting out of a car and starting to shoot. More than three dozen shots could be heard as the vehicle recording the video drove away.
Pretzel stand employee Maxwell Gum, 16, described a stampede of shoppers as he and others sheltered in a storage room.
“We started running. Kids were getting trampled,” Gum said. “My co-worker picked up a 4-year-old girl and gave her to her parents.”
Witnesses told WFAA-TV the shooter was dressed in all black. They saw shooting take place near Fatburger restaurant and in front of the H&M outlet. H&M issued a statement saying all its employees were safe and that counselling will be provided to any who request it.
Max Weiss, 18, told CNN he was working in the mall when he heard gunshots for as long as three minutes. He said he and other employees and customers locked the front door to the store and huddled in the stock room. He described the scene as “anxious, tense and terrifying” and said the group waited nearly two hours for officers to come into the store and escort them out of the parking lot area with their arms in the air.
US averaging a mass killing every week
Mass killings are happening with staggering frequency in the United States this year: an average of about one a week, according to an analysis of the Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University mass killing database. So far there have been 22 mass killings in the U.S. in 2023.
The Gun Violence Archive says the Texas mass shooting is the 200th in the nation this year and the 12th in May. Mass shootings, defined as four or more people shot, differ from mass killings, defined as four or more people killed.
Contributing: Mike James, USA TODAY; The Associated Press