Nine people were killed and at least seven others injured when a gunman opened fire at a Texas outdoor mall Saturday afternoon, according to authorities.
The gunman, who was killed by police, was one of seven people who died at the Allen Premium Outlets, a mall north of Dallas, according to the Allen Police Department. Nine people were transferred to the hospital after the shooting, where two later died, three remain in critical condition, and four others were stable, Allen Fire Department Chief Jonathan Boyd said Saturday evening during a press conference.
In a statement after the tragedy, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott offered “full support” to local officials.
“Our hearts are with the people of Allen, Texas tonight during this unspeakable tragedy,” Abbott said
More than three dozen shots were heard at around 3:36 p.m, alarming bystanders and an Allen Police Department officer that was near the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas.
Hundreds of shoppers fled the scene on Saturday after a gunman got out of a silver sedan before opening fire at the mall, causing families to seek safety in back hallways, behind cars and in storage areas. The gunman was killed by an Allen Police Department police officer shortly after. A photo obtained by CNN shows the suspect lying on the ground with an AR-15 and extra firearm magazines. The shooter has not been identified by authorities, but they believe he acted alone.
The names of the victims have not yet been released, though reports from witnesses allege that there were children, a police officer, and a mall security guard unconscious at the shopping center, AP reports.
“I pray it wasn’t kids, but it looked like kids,” Fontayne Payton, a 35-year-old H&M worker told the AP. “It broke me when I walked out to see that.”
The hospitalized individuals range in age from 5 to 61, authorities said.
“This is a tragedy. People will be looking for answers,” Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey said during a press conference. “We’re sorry that those families are experiencing that loss.”
The shooting is still under investigation, and the FBI is asking the public for any information connected with the tragedy. The shooting comes less than a week after another gunman opened fire on his neighbors in Cleveland, Texas, after they asked him to stop firing his gun in his front yard, killing 5 people, including a 9-year-old boy.
Response to the shooting
The White House said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the situation and that they are “closely monitoring the situation” and in contact with state and local officials.
“We are devastated by the tragic news of the shootings that took place at the Allen Premium Outlets today. Our prayers are with the victims and their families and all law enforcement on the scene,” tweeted Texas Rep. Keith Self on Saturday.
Allen Mayor Ken Fulk called the shooting a “tragic day” for the city, saying that he wants the victims and families to know that the community “will wrap our arms around you” and offered full support. He thanked the fire and police department for their rapid response to neutralize the threat. “We know the days ahead will be difficult and somber,” he said. “On behalf of the city council, our law enforcement personnel, first responders and all of our city employees – we will remain strong and stand united.”
Sen. Ted Cruz said that he and his wife were praying for the victims, and for the community that is in “shock from this tragedy.”
“My team is in contact with local officials, and I have offered whatever support is needed to do justice and help those in need,” he tweeted. “Thank you to the incredible law enforcement who put a stop to the monster who committed this act of evil.”
A vigil for the victims will be at the Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in Allen at 6 p.m Sunday.