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Gunman had been kicked out of Army training

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Mall shooting victims identified

The eight people gunned down at the outlet mall have been identified by school officials, the Texas Department of Public Safety and a verified online fundraiser. 

They are:

• Kyu Song Cho, 37

• Cindy Cho, 35

• James Cho, 3

• Daniela Mendoza, 4th grade

• Sofia Mendoza, 2nd grade

• Aishwarya Thatikonda, 26

• Elio Cumana-Rivas, 32

• Christian LeCour, 23

Read more about the victims here.

‘Hero’ officer saved countless lives, Allen council member says

The “hero” police officer who shot and killed the gunman Saturday “saved an untold number of lives that day,” Allen City Council member Dave Cornette said.

The officer, who happened to be at the shopping center, has not been publicly identified.

“I met the officer, shook their hand and thanked the officer for being a hero,” Cornette said in a statement Monday. “I told the officer if they or their family needed anything please reach [out] and I will see that their needs are met.”

“There is absolutely no doubt the officer saved an untold number of lives that day,” he said.

Twitter users said gory videos appeared without warning

Graphic videos and images of the aftermath of two bloody events over the weekend in Texas — a shooting at a mall and a car’s plowing into a group of migrants — circulated widely on Twitter over the last couple of days, generating renewed concern about the platform’s moderation capabilities under CEO Elon Musk.

It was imagery that some users said was pushed into their “For You” feed, which was introduced this year and surfaces content based on Twitter’s recommendation system and users’ preferences based on whom they follow. Users can choose between the “For You” feed and the “Following” feed, which shows only tweets from accounts a user follows.

David Hogg, a gun control advocate and survivor of the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, tweeted Sunday (in response to a poll from Musk asking whether he had succeeded in improving the platform in the last six months) that graphic images had been pushed into his “For You” feed.

“Well I saw a significantly higher number of photos and videos of dead people from the most recent mass shooting in Texas on my For you page and timeline yesterday than I ever had seen before,” Hogg tweeted. “So not great in that respect.”

The concern was offset by some calls for the graphic images to be more widely distributed, a decades-old argument that has gained some renewed momentum in recent years around the gun control debate.

Read the full story here.

6-year-old is family’s only survivor in mall shooting

Cho Kyu Song, 37, Kang Shin Young, 35, and their 3-year-old son, James, were shot and killed, according to a GoFundMe campaign created to help the family and The Dallas Morning News, which cited the Houston office of the South Korean Consulate.

The only surviving member of the family is the couple’s oldest child, William, who just turned 6, according to the fundraising page.

Young-Hwan Kim, South Korea’s consul in Houston, told NBC News that the family were not Korean nationals but Americans. He declined to confirm the identities of the victims and said he had been in contact with the family.

Read more about the victims here.

3 patients still listed in critical condition

Three people shot at Allen Premium Outlets remained in critical condition Monday, hospital officials said.

They are being treated at Medical City McKinney along with another patient in fair condition, Medical City Healthcare said.

The health care company also reported one patient in fair condition at Medical City Plano and another in good condition at Medical City Children’s Hospital.

Texas mall shooter shared apparent extremist beliefs online

Extremist beliefs were shared on a social media page that appeared to belong to the shooter who killed eight people at a Dallas-area outlet mall over the weekend. Posts that included rants against Jews, women and racial minorities have been shared on the account since September. 

Mauricio Garcia, 33, maintained a profile on the Russian social networking platform OK.ru, which included posts referring to extremist online forums such as 4chan and content from white nationalists, including Nick Fuentes, an antisemitic white nationalist provocateur.

A post last month included photos of Allen Premium Outlets, where a mass shooting occurred Saturday afternoon, as well as photos of a flak vest emblazoned with patches, one of them with the initialism for “Right Wing Death Squad,” a popular meme among far-right extremist groups.

Another post included a series of shirtless pictures with visible white power tattoos, including SS lightning bolts and a swastika.

A senior law enforcement source said Garcia’s social media activity on the site is part of the investigation.

Read the full story here.

Gunman was kicked out of Army after 3 months

The shooter who went on a rampage at Allen Premium Outlets joined the Army in June 2008 but was kicked out after three months for a physical or mental condition, an Army spokesperson said. 

He was terminated without having completed initial entry training. 

“He was not awarded a military occupational specialty. He had no deployments or awards,” spokesperson Heather J. Hagan said. 

The nature of the discharge was not disclosed.

“He was separated under the 2005 edition of Army Regulation 635-200, paragraph 5–17, other designated physical or mental conditions,” an Army official said.

Sisters in 2nd and 4th grades among victims, school district says

Two sisters from the same elementary school were among the eight people killed in Saturday’s shooting.

They were identified as Daniela Mendoza, a fourth grader, and Sofia Mendoza, a second grader, Wylie Independent School District Superintendent David Vinson said in a letter to families. Both attended Cox Elementary in Sachse, Texas.

Their mother, Ilda, remains in critical condition, Vinson added. 

The school’s principal, Krista Wilson, described the girls as “rays of sunshine.” 

Vinson wrote: “Words cannot express the sadness we feel as we grieve the loss of our students. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mendoza family, the families of the victims, and all those affected by this senseless tragedy.

“Daniela and Sofia will not be forgotten. Hug your kids, and tell them you love them,” he added.

Cox families and staff members were notified of the deaths, and a crisis team is “ready to provide any support that is needed,” the letter said. 

Texas bill to raise minimum age to buy semi-automatic guns passes committee level

Hours after Texas Democrats held a news conference calling on state legislators to take action on gun safety, a House bill that would raise the minimum age to buy semi-automatic guns from 18 to 21 passed the committee level. 

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez tweeted Monday afternoon that House Bill 2744 passed the Community Safety Committee and will head to the House Calendar Committee. 

“Our voices are making a difference. The push to bring this bill to the House floor continues,” he said.  

The bill is backed by families who lost loved ones in the Uvalde school massacre. In that case, the gunman used an AR-15-style rifle that he bought days after he turned 18. 

At a news conference earlier in the day, Gutierrez slammed Gov. Greg Abbott for blaming past shootings on mental health issues and extremist views. 

“It’s not mental health. It’s not extremists,” he said. “These are the guns that you’re letting everyone have with impunity.”

He said the state leads the country in mass shootings.

“This governor has done nothing about it,” he said. 

Witness recalls hearing shooter shout ‘Hey’ before opening fire

The shooter who killed eight people Saturday loudly shouted “Hey” before he released a spray of bullets, a witness recalled.

Ivy Beatriz Leon said she was heading inside Allen Premium Outlets with her sister when she saw the shooter exit a car, yell and open fire.

“When he started, he shot at everyone who was walking in a line. When he screamed, he just got out of the car and started shooting. He screamed, and everyone turned around, and he got them with his gun,” she said in an interview in Spanish. 

Leon recalled seeing multiple people falling to the ground after they were struck by bullets. 

Leon said that she was behind the shooter and that when she saw the gunfire, she and her sister started running and took cover in a store that sold creams.

They waited for nearly an hour and a half until authorities came in and took them out with their hands raised. 

Uvalde victims’ families urge Texas legislators to pass gun laws

Families who lost loved ones in the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last year urged the Legislature to pass gun measures Monday.

Monday is the deadline to pass the bills out of a House committee. 

The families are supporting bills that would raise the age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 and prohibit the transfer of certain semi-automatic rifles to certain recipients, making it a criminal offense.

Alexandria Rubio’s mother broke down at a news conference as she recalled dreaming that her daughter was still alive and that she was holding her. 

“I’m sorry I’m not strong today, but maybe that’s what you need to see,” Kimberly Mata-Rubio said. “At the end of the day, I’m just a mom who wants my daughter back and a mom who just doesn’t want another mom to know my pain.”

Berlinda Irene Arreola said Amerie Jo Garza, her granddaughter, would have turned 11 Wednesday. 

“Yesterday, family members prepared goodie bags for Amerie’s birthday. A birthday that will be recognized, not celebrated, by sitting at her plot at the cemetery,” she said. 

She called out Texas legislators, saying: “They don’t care about Amerie, her classmates or her teachers. They don’t care about the lives lost.

“They share their thoughts and prayers. Well, how about our thoughts and prayers to put the vote for HB 2744 up,” she said, adding, “Actions speak louder than words.”

‘It was a carnage that I would not want anyone to ever see,’ witness says

Steven Spainhouer rushed to the Allen, Texas, mall after his son, who was barricading himself inside an H&M store break room, called and said he was unable to reach 911.

Spainhouer, a former police officer, said he was one of the first to arrive before authorities got to the scene.

He told MSNBC’s Ana Cabrera on Monday that he started assisting the victims.

“The first person I reached was a young lady that was … in the bushes,” he said. “… She had no pulse and I pulled her head back to make sure she’s OK and she had no face. She was gone.”

A second victim’s “eyes were fixed straight ahead,” he said. “He had no pulse.”

Another victim died as Spainhouer performed CPR on him.

“He expired in front of me as well,” he said.

Spainhouer said he also found a boy, believed to be no more than 5 years old, “crawling out from under some of the victims. I managed to get him secured away from the carnage I saw.”

He said he and his son were seeking counseling Monday.

“It was a carnage that I would not want anyone to ever see,” Spainhouer added. “It was like a combat zone.”

Texas Democrats demand gun laws

Texas Senate Democrats held a news conference Monday morning demanding the Legislature pass commonsense gun laws, calling for age restrictions on owning guns and closing gun show loopholes.

Officials said they’ve proposed 39 bills on gun safety since the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, in May 2022 — none of which have been debated in a hearing. 

State Sen. Royce West pointed to the mounting number of deaths from gun violence in the state.

Saturday’s mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets claimed eight lives; five people were killed in Cleveland earlier this month by a neighbor; and the school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde last year had 21 fatalities.

“The fact of the matter is, in order for us to get this gun issue under control, it rests with the Republican Party because they have the majority and they have the power to do it,” West said.

He said that the Senate Democrats want measures that address issues such as mental health, as well as “sheer vitriol by persons that hate individuals just because of the color of their skin, their sexual preference or some other ‘ism.'”

Gov. Greg Abbott says more details to be released in coming days

Gov. Greg Abbott said he visited with law enforcement and local leaders in Allen, Texas, on Sunday evening.

He said that investigators were unable to explain what exactly led up to the shooting — details the families affected “want to know right now.”

Abbott said he believed the public will know more about “why and how this happened” in the coming days. 

Patch on shooter’s chest included a right-wing acronym, officials say

The shooter who killed at least eight people and wounded a half-dozen more was wearing a patch on his chest with a right-wing acronym at the time of the massacre.

The patch on Mauricio Garcia’s chest included the acronym “rwds,” according to two senior law enforcement officials. Authorities believe this stands for “right wing death squad” a phrase used in far-right online spaces, one of the senior law enforcement officials said.

27-year-old engineer from India was among the victims

Another victim killed in the carnage at the outlet mall in Allen, Texas, over the weekend was identified as 27-year-old Aishwarya Thatikonda. 

Her death was confirmed by a representative from the Telugu Association of North America, a group that serves the Telugu community, and is assisting her family. 

Thatikonda, an engineer working in Dallas, completed a master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University in 2020, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

Her family will have her remains sent to India, the representative said. 

Aishwarya Thatikonda.
Aishwarya Thatikonda.via LinkedIN

Security guard, 20, was a ‘beautiful soul,’ his grandma says

One of the victims of the Saturday mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in Allen, Texas, has been identified as 20-year-old Christian LaCour, his grandmother shared on Facebook. 

LaCour was a security guard at the mall, his grandmother Sandra Montgomery wrote Sunday.

She remembered him as “such a beautiful soul” with “goals for his future.” She asked for prayers for their “very close family.”

“I know this is almost unbearable,” she wrote. 

Texas mall shooting victim Christian LaCour.
Christian LaCour.via KXAS

Read the full article here

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