A happy day of shopping was turned into a chaotic and terrible scene on Saturday when a shooter opened fire at a busy mall outside of Dallas, killing at least eight people and injured at least seven more, according to the authorities.
The Allen, Texas, police chief, Brian E. Harvey, did not name the shooter but stated that they were acting alone during a press conference on Saturday night. According to Chief Harvey, a police officer who was at the mall at the time of the shooting on an unrelated assignment heard shots being fired, ran in that direction, and shot and killed the shooter.
Ages of the injured varied from 5 to 61, according to a representative for Medical City Healthcare, which was attending to many casualties at three trauma centers.
Around 3:30 pm, the Allen Premium Outlets, an outdoor shopping center with more than 120 retailers located about 25 miles north of Dallas, experienced a shooting. Videos that are making the rounds on social media show individuals sprinting through a parking lot or scurrying for cover while loud popping noises can be heard in the distance.
At the mall, seven people, including the shooter, were confirmed dead. At least nine patients were carried to hospitals by official means, but more may have been conveyed in private vehicles, according to Jonathan Boyd, the Allen fire chief. Later, two of those perished. Four people were in stable condition, while three were in serious condition.
Social media users posted a video that looked to show the shooter lying on the ground, dressed in all-black, holding a long rifle, what appeared to be several rounds of ammo, and what appeared to be a tactical vest.
“We all want 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,” Ken Fulk, the mayor of Allen, said at a news conference. “We know you are grieving. We are grieving. Rest assured, the nation and the world are also grieving. Allen is a proud and safe city, which makes today’s senseless act of violence even more shocking.”
The police have been taught to not “hesitate to move toward the threat,” according to Mr. Fulk, which has probably resulted in more lives being saved.
After the Monterey Park, California, tragedy, in which a shooter killed 11 people in a ballroom on January 21, Saturday’s incident is the second-deadliest shooting of the year.
The Gun Violence Archive, a database of shootings in the US, reports that 199 “mass shootings,” which it defines as shootings involving at least four victims, had occurred in 2023. This last week saw an especially tragic wave of widespread shootings.
Last weekend, a shooter in Cleveland, Texas, a suburb of Houston, shot and killed five people after being ordered to stop by his neighbours. He was apprehended following a several-day manhunt.
A registered sex offender shot six people dead on Monday near Tulsa, Oklahoma, including his wife and three of her children, before turning the pistol on himself.
One person was killed and four people were hurt when a shooter opened fire at an Atlanta medical office building on Wednesday. Additionally, this sparked a manhunt before the suspect was apprehended.
Witnesses in Allen, Texas, reported a typical scene of chaos as shooting broke out.
When they heard gunshots, Geoffrey Keaton and his daughter, 16, were eating lunch at Fatburger in the outlet mall.
“I immediately knew,” Mr. Keaton said. “I got my baby girl under the counter to shield her, and then they got louder, like he was right there.”
According to Mr. Keaton, the manager of the restaurant permitted patrons to hide in the back, where they could leave through a back door and dash to their automobiles.
“You could see bodies of people he had shot on the sidewalk,” Mr. Keaton said.
Numerous customers were seen being evacuated in a controlled manner from stores like H&M, Michael Kors, American Eagle, and Kay Jewelers in a livestream from a nearby Fox television affiliate.
For an impending holiday, 36-year-old Kaleo Palakiko and his parents were out shopping when they noticed people running outside.
“It was just kind of chaotic for a second. Then when someone said, ‘shooter,’ we all ran to the back of the store,” Mr. Palakiko said. “As Americans, we’re used to this, because everyone knew exactly what to do.”
After hiding in a storeroom for about 45 minutes, Mr. Palakiko and his parents were eventually freed by police, who let them walk out with their hands raised. According to Mr. Palakiko, they passed shops with broken windows as they walked by.
Brayson Jones, 17, was waiting in his car before starting his shift at the Champs Sports outlet store when he heard “probably 20 or more shots” and observed people fleeing the businesses, according to him.
According to Mr. Jones, a stranger raced over to his vehicle and motioned for him to get in before the two sped off.
“As soon as I heard the shots and people yelling, I didn’t wait to see what was going on, I backed out and got out of there,” he said.
Four hours after the shooting, the police started letting some people pick up their abandoned cars at the store. Others will have to wait until tomorrow because their vehicles were parked closer to the crime scene.
Republican Allen, Texas representative Keith Self remarked on CNN that those critics who are demanding more than “thoughts and prayers” following the killing on Saturday “don’t believe in almighty God, who is absolutely in control of our lives.” He claimed that the absence of “mental health institutions” in the nation is to blame.
“Really I would like to stay away from the politics today because I want to focus on the victims, today we should be focused on the families,” he said. “Prayers are important and they are important in the families that are devastated right now.”
The president of Brady, a group dedicated to preventing gun violence, Kris Brown, made note of the several shootings in only one short week in a statement.
“A house, a doctors’ office, and now a mall,” he said. “These horrific tragedies are occurring with increasing regularity and it’s clear there’s no place in this country where Americans are safe from gun violence. But this will continue to be our reality unless and until the U.S. changes its relationship with guns and our lawmakers finally answer to the American people, not the gun lobby.”