Texas mall shooting: Officials probe gunman’s possible far-right links
The federal authorities are looking into whether the gunman, who shot and killed eight people in a Dallas mall including two children, had links to far-right groups.
The attacker who was killed by a policeman on the spot has been identified as Mauricio Garca, 33.
CBS News, the US-based partner of BBC News, reports that investigators are reviewing his social media posts to examine his ideology.
During the attack, he wore a clothing patch with the letters RWDS which stands for “Right Wing Death Squad”.
This phrase is popular with right-wing extremists and groups that promote white supremacy.
CBS reported that a source in law enforcement suggested that one line of investigation is to determine whether the suspect was motivated by his ideals, and if he had any links with like-minded individuals.
The gunman was wearing combat gear and an AR-15-style rifle when he shot. Multiple rounds of ammunition were found on him.
Witnesses described scenes that were filled with panic and horror as the gunman jumped out of his vehicle in a parking lot of a shopping mall and started shooting at shoppers.
The rampage was brought to an end by a police officer who was attending a different call and happened to be nearby.
Six people died at the scene of the accident in the suburbs of north Dallas, and two more later died in hospital.
On Sunday, at least three victims were still in critical condition.
President Joe Biden described the rampage as “the latest act of gun violence to devastate our nation”.
He confirmed that children were among those killed, saying that “too many families have empty chairs at their dinner tables”.
The president called once again on his political opponents in the Republican party to support tougher gun control.
The Republican governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott, told Fox News Sunday his aim was to target the possession of weapons by criminals and deal with a rising mental health crisis, rather than consider wider bans.
Garcia was reportedly working as a security guard at the time of the shooting and did not have a serious criminal record.
Footage seemed to show the suspect stepping out of his vehicle in the mall car park, and opening fire on people walking nearby without warning.
One woman working in the mall said the first she knew about the attack was a customer approaching her and warning: “You all need to close the doors.”
“I was confused. Next thing you know, we hear gunshots… all you hear is like 50, 60 gunshots,” she said.
“We kept our calm as best that we could, tried to keep our customers calm… we shut the door, everything is closed. Nobody can buy anything. We’re all hiding in the back.”
Another witness, Elaine Penicaro, said she was finishing her shopping trip when she heard “all this popping”.
“So we kind of just all just stopped. But then a second later, like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. And we saw sparks flying like it was right in front of us,” she said. “So we just ran into the Converse store. They locked the door. We all hunkered down in the back – and that’s where we stayed.”
Speaking to CBS, Steven Spainhouer described how he rushed to the scene after getting a call from his son who reported a shooting. He spoke of “unfathomable carnage”.
He said at least three victims could not be saved even after he applied CPR. “The first girl I walked up to was crouched down covering her head in the bushes,” he recalled. “So I felt for a pulse, pulled her head to the side, and she had no face.”
He helped a boy who was under his mother’s dead body.
“When I rolled the mother over, he came out. I asked him if he was OK and he said, ‘My mom is hurt, my mom is hurt’. So, rather than traumatize him anymore, I pulled him around the corner and sat him down.”
The boy was “covered from head to toe” in blood, Mr Spainhouer said.