Live updates on shooting in Allen, Texas: Protests mark vigil; killer's racist links examined

 One day after protesters converged on a vigil for the eight people killed in a shooting at a suburban Dallas mall, authorities on Monday sought to determine whether the gunman was motivated by white supremacist and neo-Nazi views.

Federal agents have been reviewing social media accounts they believe were used by Mauricio Garcia, 33, and posts that expressed interest in white supremacist and neo-Nazi views, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Garcia's links to that ideology reportedly included social media posts as well as a patch on his chest that read “RWDS,” an acronym for the phrase “Right Wing Death Squad” that is popular among right-wing extremists and white supremacy groups.

The official cautioned that the investigation is in its early stages.

Garcia was killed by police responding to Saturday's assault in Allen, Texas, which left seven people with injuries that required hospitalization, Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd said.


∙ The attack in Allen is the second-deadliest of 2023. A January mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, left 11 people dead and nine injured after that city's Lunar New Year festival.

∙ Patrick Crusius lived in Allen in 2019 before he posted a racist screed online that warned of a “Hispanic invasion” and drove to El Paso, where he opened fire at a Walmart, killing 23. Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and weapons charges in February.

What we know about Mauricio Garcia

According to a search warrant obtained by WFAA-TV, investigators found several handguns, long guns and ammunition inside Garcia's grey 2014 Dodge Charger at the scene of the shooting. Multiple media outlets including WFAA reported that Garcia had been in the U.S. Army in 2008 but was removed due to unspecified mental health concerns. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment.

Garcia was a licensed security guard who most recently worked at an aluminum supply company.

Thousands mourn victims as protesters demand gun reform

A vigil at Cottonwood Creek Church led by senior pastor John Mark Caton drew Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and controversy. Multiple protesters were escorted from the service, and other protesters outside the church waved banners with slogans such as "I don't want to be murdered at school" and "This voter opposes gun violence."

After the vigil, Abbott tweeted that "the hearts of all Texans are with Allen, Texas. Tonight, I joined my fellow Texans in Allen for a community vigil for the innocent lives lost last night and those who are recovering from injuries.  As this community heals, Texas will be with you every step of the way."

Abbott has led a charge in Texas to ease gun laws, and he declined to support more restrictions despite the latest rampage, telling Fox News the long-term solutions remain dealing with mental health issues.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez is a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde, where a school shooting last May left 19 students and two staffers dead. Gutierrez was unmoved by Abbott's argument.

"Republicans have loosened gun laws in #Texas so much that ANYONE can get their hands on a gun, even if they shouldn’t have one," Gutierrez tweeted. "We must to put a stop to this. REMEMBER: 80% of Americans support commonsense gun safety laws! #txlege"

Protesters hold signs in support of gun control outside Cotton Wood Creek Church before a vigil a day after a mass shooting at a Texas outlet mall on May 7, 2023, in Allen, Texas.

What happened at the Allen Premium Outlets mall outside Dallas?

Police and witnesses said the gunman parked a gray Honda Accord outside the mall 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. 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.A police officer responding to an unrelated call nearby heard the shooting and engaged the gunman, fatally shooting him, police said.

Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.