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The suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting in Allen, Texas, was identified as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, a senior law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told CNN.
Eight people were killed and at least seven others were wounded from the massacre in the affluent suburb of Allen, about 25 miles north of Dallas.
The carnage marked yet another massacre at a public place where Americans had long felt safe – such as supermarkets, schools and Fourth of July parades. It happened in the same week a gunman opened fire in a medical facility in Atlanta, killing one woman and wounding four others. And it comes weeks from when Texas will mark a year since a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde.
The gunman in Saturday’s massacre was killed by an Allen Police Department officer who was at the mall on an unrelated call, police said. Investigators believe the shooter was acting alone.
The US has suffered 200 mass shootings within the first five months of this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Both the nonprofit and CNN define mass shootings as those in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter.
A photo obtained by CNN shows what appears to be the gunman lying on the ground after being shot, with an AR-15-style firearm nearby. He is clad in black body armor and appears to have several extra magazines strapped in his chest gear.
In addition to the AR-15-style weapon found near him, Garcia had at least one other weapon on him when he was fatally shot in front of the mall, the senior law enforcement source said. Police also found multiple weapons in his car.
Garcia underwent firearms proficiency training for his work as a commissioned security officer, according to the Texas Online Private Security database, which is maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Garcia was approved to work as a security guard in Texas from April 2016 until April 2020, when his license expired, according to the database. His profile shows he worked for at least three security companies. None of those companies immediately responded to requests for comment.
According to the database, Garcia received Level II and Level III security training. The former covers security laws in Texas; the latter, which is required for all commissioned security officers and personal protection officers in Texas, includes firearm training and the demonstration of firearm proficiency, according to Jonah Nathan, vice president of Ranger Guard, a security guard service in Texas not affiliated with Garcia’s employers.
In 2018, Garcia also completed a separate firearms proficiency training course that requires six hours of continuing education, according to the Texas DPS database.
Private security guards in Texas undergo background checks and are disqualified if they have committed certain crimes such as assault, burglary or sexual offenses, among others, according to the Texas DPS website and state codes.
They are also disqualified if they have been dishonorably discharged from the US military; have been found incompetent by a court of law; or have been required to register as a sex offender. It’s unclear why Garcia’s license expired.
CNN spoke with neighbors who witnessed FBI and police at the home of an address that matches Garcia’s parents’ on Saturday night.
They arrived there about an hour after the shooting and blocked off the street for several hours, neighbors said.
Garcia had been living in some form of transient lodging, according to the law enforcement source. The Dallas Morning News reported the suspect had been staying in an extended stay hotel in Dallas.
Witness video from Saturday showed panicked shoppers in the parking lot of Allen Premium Outlets in Texas screaming and ducking behind rows of cars. Inside the sprawling complex, employees, shoppers and families with young children bolted and hid in storage areas or back hallways, witnesses told CNN.
At least nine people were rushed to trauma facilities, two of whom have since died, Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd said. Of the surviving victims, three were in critical condition and undergoing surgery and four were stable as of Saturday night, he said.
A Dallas-area medical group said it treated victims as young as 5 years old.
Witness Kingsley Ezeh said he was walking inside the mall when people behind him suddenly began running.
“I turned around and I saw two ladies rushing towards me, and then one was like ‘Someone’s shooting! Someone’s shooting!’” he said.
Behind the fleeing women, Ezeh said he could see a man holding his neck, which “blood (was) just dripping down.”
Ezeh huddled with others in the back of a store for about an hour before police came to get them, he said. Other witnesses reported sheltering in place for up to two hours as police cleared the scene.
Aerial video showed hundreds of shoppers, some with their hands up, weaving through police cars and ambulances as they were escorted from the scene. The footage also appears to show at least three bodies covered by sheets outside the mall.
Republican US Rep. Keith Self, whose congressional district includes Allen, said the attack could have been deadlier if not for the quick response from law enforcement.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the first responders that ran toward the gunfire and acted swiftly to neutralize the threat,” Self said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will visit Allen Sunday, he told Fox News.
“There are questions that are lingering that the families want answers to,” Abbott said, such as “‘Why did this happen? Why did the gunman do this? How did this happen?’ And I know that those families need an answer as quickly as possible.”
Kimberly Blakey said she and her 14-year-old daughter were among the crowd trying to flee the parking lot during the attack.
“The shooting happened over and over and over again. It was nonstop,” she said.
In her haste to get away, Blakey initially drove toward the gunfire before her daughter told her to turn around. But as she drove toward the exit, she said, they became stuck behind a scrum of other cars trying to do the same.
That’s when she felt her car get hit twice by gunfire.
“I told my daughter to get down,” Blakey said. “She did, and I could hear her start praying.”
The pair managed to get out of the parking lot and didn’t stop until they got home, even though the car’s flat-tire warning light had come on.
“We were on a mission to get out of there,” Blakey said.
At the mall’s Fatburger restaurant, employee Tiffany Gipson and customers hid in a hallway behind the restaurant.
“I’ve never witnessed anything like this,” Gipson said. “This is very traumatic for me, and I already suffer from anxiety and seizures.”