Mauricio Garcia: Everything we know about the Texas mall gunman who killed eight
A gunman clad in black body armour and armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle opened fire at a Texas mall on Saturday, killing eight people and injuring seven others.
The suspect was identified by the Texas Department of Public Safety as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, a security guard and US Army veteran.
Dashcam video circulating on social media appeared to show the gunman getting out of a grey sedan just outside the entrance of the Allen Premium Outlets, a sprawling centre on the outskirts of Dallas, and immediately opening fire on passersby in the carpark.
An Allen Police Department officer attending an unrelated call at the mall heard the gunfire and “neutralised” the suspect, police said.
What we know about the suspect
Mauricio Garcia, 33, was identified on Sunday as the gunman who killed eight innocent shoppers and mall staff members in Saturday’s horror attack.
Garcia drove to the mall with several weapons and opened fire as soon as he stepped out of his vehicle. An AR-15 rifle and a handgun were reportedly found on him and in his car.
Police have not released a possible motive, but investigators are looking into Garcia’s possible neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs.
Garcia was wearing black body armour and a patch on his chest that suggested he may have harboured extremist ideologies, law enforcement sources told The Washington Post.
The patch read RWDS, which stands for Right Wing Death Squad, a popular phrase among far-right extremists.
Police sources told NBC News that Garcia had posted and engaged with neo-Nazi and white supremacist content online.
His accounts appear to have since been taken down.
Garcia served in the US Army in 2008 but was removed due to concerns around his mental health, sources told WFAA.
After that, he became a security guard, most recently working for an aluminum supply company.
Through his work as a security guard, Garcia underwent firearms proficiency training as recently as 2018, according to the Texas Online Private Security database.
The online records show that he began training in 2015 before becoming a commissioned security officer in April 2016.
His licence expired in April 2020.
During that time, he is listed as working for three security companies: Ruiz Protective Service, Statewide Patrol and Verified Response Security & Investigations.
It is unclear why his security guard licence was suspended.
It is unclear if he had any connection to the mall where he carried out Saturday’s rampage.
Private security guards are vetted and are barred from gaining a license if they have convictions for crimes such as assault or sexual offenses, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
According to CBS News reporter JD Miles, Garcia was a security guard with no serious criminal record.
At the time of the shooting, Garcia had reportedly been living in a motel.
FBI agents raided a Dallas home where Garcia had been living with his parents for years, according to Fox News.
Officers were stationed outside the address on Sunday. The suspect’s family requested a translator to speak with authorities.
How the shooting unfolded
The gunman arrived at the mall just after 3.30pm local time on Saturday.
Video showed him exiting a grey sedan vehicle, dressed in black tactical gear and armed with an AR-15-style weapon before opening fire.
Hundreds of shoppers could be seen trying to flee the scene on aerial footage after the gunman opened fire with an AR-15-style gun. Bodies of the victims, including several young children, were covered by sheets.
Seven people — including the suspect — were killed at the scene, Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd said at a press conference on Saturday.
Nine people were transported to hospital, where two more succumbed to their injuries.
Three survivors were undergoing surgery and remained in a critical condition on Saturday night, Mr Boyd said. Four others were in a stable condition.
The injured included children as young as five, a Dallas area hospital told CNN.
As details continue to emerge about the gunman, the victims are starting to be identified.
Christian LaCour, a 20-year-old security guard at the mall, was identified by family members as one of the victims of Sunday’s massacre.
LaCour’s grandmother posted a tribute to her grandson on social media.
“He was such a beautiful soul,” she wrote. “I was so proud of him and so glad I got to see him 2 weeks ago.”
Aishwarya Thatikonda, an engineer who moved to the US from India, was also killed in the attack.
Thatikonda was shopping with a friend at the mall when she was shot and killed by the gunman, a family representative told WFAA.
Her friend was also shot and injured in the shooting and is currently in stable condition in hospital.
Thatikonda’s family is planning to fly her body to India where she has family.
Texas’ dark weekend
The mall shooting marked the start of a dark weekend for Texas.
In Brownsville, eight people were killed when an SUV slammed into a crowd of people outside a migrant shelter in the border city on Sunday afternoon.
Horrifying footage, taken from a security camera and shared by Texas Rep Henry Cuellar, shows a group of people waiting for a bus outside the city’s Ozanam Center. The SUV then rams into the victims.
Seven people died before an eighth victim succumbed to their injuries in hospital later that day. At least nine others were hospitalised.
Most of the victims were Venezuelan men who had spent the night at the shelter and were boarding a bus to return to downtown Brownsville.
Officials initially said that the incident appeared to be intentional and described the driver – whose identity remains unknown – as “very uncooperative”.
Also on Sunday, one person was killed and two others were injured in a shooting on a DART train in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday – just a 30-minute drive from the mall massacre.
Gunfire broke out on board a Green Line train near Hatcher Station when two people got into an argument on Sunday afternoon, accoding to authorities.
DART police said that officers were called to reports of a shooting on the northbound train at around 4.30pm.
Officers arrived on the scene to find two people – one of them a bystander – suffering from gunshot wounds.
They were both transported to local hospitals where one of the victims was pronounced dead. The condition of the second victim – the bystander – is unknown.
A third individual was also wounded in the shooting after being struck by shrapnel and was treated at the scene, police said.
Now, DART police are searching for the suspected shooter, whose identity is unknown.