Texas mall shooting: 9 people, including gunman, dead

Houston: A gunman opened fire at a crowded mall in the US state of Texas, killing at least eight people before being shot dead by a police officer, officials have said, in the latest in a relentless series of gun violence across the country.

The gunfire erupted around 3:30 pm on Saturday at the Allen Premium Outlets as throngs of shoppers filled the outdoor mall, which is about 25 miles north of Dallas and has more than 120 stores.

Police said they shot the gunman dead and believe he acted alone. Police are yet to identify the victims and the gunman. A Dallas-area medical group says it was treating victims as young as 5 years old.

Police are yet to identify the victims and the gunman. A Dallas-area medical group says it was treating victims as young as 5 years old. At least seven people are being treated in hospital, three of whom are critically ill.

Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd said seven people – including the gunman – were pronounced dead at the scene and two died later in hospital.

According to the officials, an Allen police officer, who was at the mall on an unrelated call, heard gunshots at Allen Premium Outlets.

“The officer engaged the suspect and neutralised the threat,” Allen Police Department posted on Twitter.

“He then called for emergency personnel.” The department said, “There is no longer an active threat.” Video footage showed hundreds of shoppers exiting the area at the time of the shooting. Shoppers and employees scrambled into storage areas and hid when they heard gunshots, CNN reported.

Witnesses said some people sheltered in place for up to two hours as law enforcement cleared the sprawling complex.

One witness said that he saw a man holding his neck, and “blood (was) just dripping down.” Kaleo Palakiko, 36, was shopping with his parents for an upcoming vacation when they saw 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,” Palakiko told the New York Times. “As Americans, we’re used to this, because everyone knew exactly what to do.” Governor Greg Abbott called the shooting an “unspeakable tragedy.” He said the state was ready to offer any assistance to local authorities.

“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.

Early reports from police and witnesses said a gunman pulled up in a grey Honda Accord at the Premium Outlets in Allen. The man began firing on people walking on sidewalks outside the outlet centre, a popular shopping spot with many upscale stores such as Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein and Ann Taylor.

The White House said President Biden had been briefed on the shooting and that the administration had offered support to local officials.

So far there have been at least 198 mass shootings in the United States in 2023, according to the gun violence archive.

Saturday’s tragedy occurred just a couple of weeks before the first anniversary of the Uvalle, Texas School massacre when 19 children and two adults were killed by a gunman at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022.

It comes just days after a gunman became enraged during a visit to an Atlanta medical facility, allegedly shooting dead at least one person with a handgun and injuring four others before he was caught hours later.

Saturday’s incident is the second-deadliest shooting of the year in the country, after the Monterey Park, California, massacre in which a gunman killed 11 people in a ballroom on January 21.

Last weekend, a gunman killed five people in Cleveland, Texas, near Houston, after he was asked by neighbours to stop shooting in his yard. He was captured after a multi-day manhunt.

On Wednesday, a gunman opened fire at a medical office building in Atlanta, killing one and injuring four others. That, too, led to a manhunt before the suspect was caught.