A gunman killed at least eight people, including children, in a mall on Allen on Saturday, also injuring at least seven others before a police officer killed him.
Of the hospitalized victims, three were in critical condition as of Sunday night. The injured ranged in age from 5 to 61.
Katherine Hobbs, a morning producer and podcast host at KERA in North Texas, said law enforcement is still investigating the attack at the Allen Premium Outlets outside Dallas.
“I was able to talk to quite a few witnesses, and they all shared a similar story,” she said. “In the afternoon, they heard several shots fired. Many of them either fled if they were on the outskirts of the mall or were able to shelter in place inside stores. One man I spoke to, Colin Polikipo, said that he was sheltering inside a Tory Burch store when this happened. When he was let out about 45 minutes later, he estimates, police routed him and other patrons around several bodies that were covered in blood. He said that he saw children lying on the ground and the gunman deceased with several rounds of ammunition next to him.”
Hobbs said police have not confirmed a motive for the attack.
“What we know right now is that they are investigating motives, including ideology,” she said. “When (the shooter) was found, he had a patch on his vest that had an acronym related to some very far-right-wing ideology. And as they continue to investigate, they’ll give us more information. But that is what we have right now.”
Little information has been released about the victims as well, Hobbs said.
“Demographic information is coming in very slowly. President [Joe] Biden gave an address yesterday and he confirmed that there were children who were victims as well. As of right now, we know that nine people have died, and that nine does include the gunman, who was killed on the scene,” she said. “There are several more in hospital in either critical or fair condition, and two others who were stable. We know that their families have been alerted. But in terms of specifics about individual victims, police are still holding all of that.”
Hobbs said quite a few elected officials attended a press conference Saturday night.
“Their responses were all focused on applauding police officers and other first responders for their quick response. They asked for continued prayers for the community,” she said. “During that press conference, no one addressed any legislation or policy changes related to gun control.”
However, since Saturday night both Gov. Greg Abbott and President Biden have spoken further about the incident.
“They gave two very different statements,” Hobbs said. “Abbott said that for right now we need to focus on mental health care and not on gun legislation, whereas Biden called strongly for common sense gun reform.”
Activist groups pushing for gun control have also held protests in the area, Hobbs said.
“We’ve had protests at different vigils. One that I was not in attendance at had a group of mothers protesting and they had signs saying, ‘We know we deserve to be safe at shopping malls. Our kids deserve to be safe,’” she said. “I was at a vigil last night at the scene of the shooting, and there was a small group of protesters there who were holding signs that said, ‘have y’all changed your mind on gun control laws yet?’ And they were present at the shooting and they came right back out the next day to demand change from their group. Other activists are leaning less political, but are trying to provide community aid for their community right now.”
Hobbs said Allen is a tight-knit community.
“Everyone who I spoke with both on Saturday and on Sunday said that it is a safe place. It’s a place that they moved because they wanted to raise their families in a safe area. And they were all shocked by this,” she said. “So many of the community members showed up who had no connection to the victims or the families impacted. But they said that, you know, in Allen, when someone’s hurting, everyone’s hurting. They showed up, they prayed with each other, they lit candles together. A lot of them just stood in silence with their arms around each other. And I think that’s a really, really good reflection of the Allen community and how they care for one another and show up for each other.”