Nine killed, seven wounded in Texas mall shooting

Nine people were killed and seven wounded in a mass shooting Saturday at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, just north of Dallas. This was the 200th mass shooting in the US so far this year, averaging about 11 such events per week.

According to ABC News, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the shooting at 3:30 p.m. The gunman was killed in the parking lot by a police officer who was at the mall on an unrelated call. Officials said the ages of the victims ranged from 5 to 61.

People raise their hands as they leave a shopping center following reports of a shooting, Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Allen, Texas. [AP Photo/LM Otero]

According to an Allen Police Department news release on Sunday, four people were undergoing treatment at Medical City McKinney Hospital, with three in critical condition. Another person is undergoing treatment at Medical City Plano, one at Medical City Children’s Hospital, and another at a hospital not named in the release.

The suspected shooter has been identified as Mauricio Garcia, 33, a security guard. Garcia reportedly used an AR-15 rifle in the shooting and had at least one other weapon on him when he was fatally shot. More weapons were found in his car.

Witnesses said the gunman’s tactical vest was packed with ammunition. According CBS News reporter J.D. Miles, Garcia, who was living in an extended-stay hotel in Dallas, had “no serious criminal record.”

Dashcam video circulating on social media shows the shooter leaving a grey sedan outside of Allen Premium Outlets mall and immediately proceeding to open fire on mall-goers. People ran from the shooter and some fled in their cars under fire.

One boy and his mother told CNN they fled in their car and were hit twice by gunfire. A witness speaking to the Washington Post described a young boy running away from the shooter while screaming “run!” At least one victim was a child, according to officials and witnesses. Another young boy was found under the corpse of his mother, who died shielding him.

It is not clear if there was a security guard on duty at the mall, though an individual with a security uniform was among the dead.

The Post reports that according to “people familiar with the investigation,” the shooter “had an apparent fascination with white supremacist or neo-Nazi beliefs that are now being examined by investigators as a possible motive for the attack.”

According to the Post’s sources, the shooter had a patch on his tactical vest that read “RWDS,” which stands for Right Wing Death Squad. An RWDS patch was worn by Proud Boy Jeremy Bertino at Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rallies in the lead-up to the January 6 coup. The shooting is reportedly being investigated as a possible hate crime.

As of this writing, the reports linking Garcia to neofascist tendencies have not been confirmed by the local police or federal authorities. Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey told the press that the police believe the gunman acted alone.

The shooting comes just days after a mass shooting in an Atlanta, Georgia hospital by a Coast Guard veteran, injuring four and killing one, and just over a week after five people were killed, including an eight-year-old boy, in a mass shooting of a family by a neighbor in a rural town north of Houston, Texas. These “mass casualty” events were preceded by mass shootings in Alabama and Kentucky.

According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), 14,675 shooting deaths have been recorded so far this year, rapidly approaching the total number for all of 2018. Last year there were 20,200 deaths and 647 mass shootings. This was topped only by 2021, which had the highest number of shootings and deaths since the GVA began keeping track in 2014, when there were 272 mass shootings.

The American media and political establishment is incapable of providing any serious explanation for this epidemic of gun violence because it is an expression of a social breakdown of staggering dimensions, rooted in a toxic and insoluble crisis of American capitalism.