As eyewitness accounts of the mass shooting at a mall in Allen, Texas continue to pour in, survivors have described a harrowing account of the carnage in which a gunman shot and killed eight people Saturday night in Allen. Premium Outlets, about 29 miles. northeast of Dallas.
The suspected shooter, who was identified by two senior law enforcement officials as Mauricio Garcia, was killed by police. The 33-year-old man was wearing a tactical vest and was armed with a rifle of some kind, as well as a pistol, one of the senior law enforcement officials said. More weapons and ammunition were found in his car, the source said.
Employees, shoppers and their families said they will never forget the terrifying scene that unfolded before them.
Steven Spainhouer rushed to the mall after his son, who had barricaded himself in the break room of the H&M store, called desperately for him. The former police officer said he pulled a small child, covered in blood, from under his wounded mother.
“The trail of blood from where the victims lay to the police car will stay in my head forever,” Spainhouer said.
Spainhouer said he was one of the first to arrive at the point of sale, before police arrived on the scene. Seven people were on the ground, shot in front of the mall. He started looking for pulses among the victims.
One victim died when Spainhouer performed CPR on her.
“There was nothing I could do,” he said.
Jaquetta Jones, 39, also received a call from her son, Jamal, 20, who was eating at a burger joint in the mall when the shooting began.
“He called me … and he was very choked up saying, ‘Mom, there’s an active shooter. We hide in a bathroom,’” Jones said. His son and his friends were safely evacuated.
Rama Bataineh, a 20-year-old Coach store employee who was on her lunch break, said she tried to take cover from the shooting in her car.
The door was closed. She called the store manager, who opened a back door for her to enter.
“I went in and all the customers, all the employees, they were all in the back sitting on the floor. Everyone was terrified,” Bataineh said.
When the shooting stopped, the policemen escorted the group outside, where Bataineh was met with a macabre scene.
“I saw a body, there was a guy in front of me. I did not sleep all night. He would wake me up and throw up,” she said.
The shooting at the Allen outlet marked the seventh mass shooting in Texas since the Uvalde massacre that killed 21 people, according to a data base Maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in association with Northeastern University.
Area residents described feeling a growing sense of exasperation over the frequency of shootings.
“I heard in the media people from Uvalde expressing how frustrated they were when they received those calls. I hoped I would never have to have that. I am here today feeling the same emotions as the parents in Uvalde”, said Spainhouer. «No parent should have to watch his child walk out of a store with her hands up between three bodies,» she continued.
“If you think your community is immune, Allen is one of the safest cities in the United States, and it happened in Allen.”