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Investigators Say Texas Outlet Mall Gunman Shared Extremist Beliefs On Social Media Before Rampage

Allen, TX – The gunman accused of murdering eight people – including three children – in an attack at a Texas outlet mall posted a series of extremist beliefs on social media against women, Jews, and racial minorities prior to the mass shooting.

At least seven more victims were wounded during the massacre at Allen Premium Outlets on May 6.

Among those murdered were Kyu and Cindy Cho and their three-year-old son, James, The New York Times reported.

The Chos’ six-year-old son, William, was wounded.

He is now the only surviving member of his family, the Independent reported.

Sofia Mendoza, 8, and her sister, 11-year-old Daniela Mendoza were also killed.

Mall security guard Christian LaCour, 20, Aishwarya Thatikonda, 26, and Elio Cumana-Rivas, 32, were also murdered in the attack, The New York Times reported.

The gunman, who was fatally shot by an Allen police officer during the incident, has been identified as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia.

Investigators have not released a motive for the deadly mass shooting but said they are working to determine whether the suspect was inspired by neo-Nazi or white-supremacist ideology, The Washington Post reported.

Garcia appeared to have created and maintained a profile on OK.ru, a Russian social media platform, where he allegedly shared content from white nationalists and referred to extremist online forums, including 4chan, according to NBC News.

He posted more than two dozen images of the mall in the weeks prior to the mass shooting and appeared to have been monitoring when the shopping center was busiest, according to the news outlet.

Other photos shared by Garcia included images of a vest with a patch on the chest that read “RWDS,” which stands for the Right Wing Death Squad.

The phrase is popular with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and right-wing extremists, The Washington Post reported.

He allegedly wore a vest with the same acronym during the mass shooting at the mall.

Garcia shared a series of shirtless photos on social media that showed a swastika and SS lightning bolt tattoos, according to NBC News.

He ranted against women in other posts.

Garcia also allegedly made a post praising the gunman who carried out a mass shooting at a private school in Nashville earlier this year, NBC News reported.

He referred to his mental health in other posts, including one in which he commented that no psychologist would have been able to fix him, according to the news outlet.

A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said Garcia appeared to have adopted and shared a “mishmash” of ideologies, NBC News reported.

Accusations he was a foreign national and with tattoos indicating potential gang or cartel involvement have been swirling on social media.

Investigators said they are looking into whether Garcia had any connection with cartel members or prison gangs, CBS News reported.

Sources said the shooter was carrying multiple firearms at the time of the attack and said he had five more guns in his car, The Washington Post reported.

Garcia allegedly shared receipts on his social media account indicating he paid a Dallas gun distributor more than $3,200 for three firearms in June, according to NBC News.

Investigators said they have seized evidence at a hotel where Garcia was staying in Dallas, as well as at his family’s home in the same city.

U.S. Army spokeswoman Heather Hagan confirmed Garcia joined the military in June of 2008, but said he was kicked out three months later due to a mental or physical condition, NBC News reported.

He had not completed basic training prior to his discharge.

Kevin Todd, a neighbor of Garcia’s parents, described the shooter as a quiet person who did not seem to cause any problems, according to the news outlet.

Neighbors said Garcia had just moved out of his parents’ residence earlier this year.

“He just seemed to be aloof, kind of disconnected,” Todd told The Washington Post. “But he wasn’t threatening.”

Investigators said Garcia worked for at least three security companies in the past and received many hours of firearms training in recent years, CNN reported.

His security guard license was valid in Texas from April of 2016 until April of 2020.

The horrific attack occurred at the Allen Premium Outlets shortly after 3:30 p.m. on May 6, CBS News reported.

“When the multiple shots happened, my heart just dropped,” Steven Spainhouer told CBS News. “I was on the phone with 911 and I was telling them we have a mass casualty incident.”

Spainhouer said he ran into the shopping center after his son, who works at the H&M store in the mall, called him to tell him someone was shooting outside.

The Army veteran and former law enforcement officer said he arrived at the scene prior to any of the first responders and immediately jumped into action, The Washington Post reported.

“I never imagined in 100 years I would be thrust into the position of being the first first responder on the site to take care of people,” Spainhouer told CBS News. “The first girl I walked up to was crouched down covering her head in the bushes, so I felt for a pulse, pulled her head to the side and she had no face.”

He then came upon the body of a woman who’d been killed and found her child alive beneath her, CBS News reported.

She had died while protecting him, Spainhouer said.

“When I rolled the mother over, he came out. I asked him if he was OK and he said, ‘My mom is hurt, my mom is hurt.’ So rather than traumatize him, I pulled him around the corner sat him down and he was covered from head to toe… like somebody poured blood on him,” he told CBS News.

“I saw moms and dads covering the eyes of their kids in tears, kids holding their hands up, people running for their lives,” Spainhouer told CNN.

He said he began performing chest compressions on yet another victim, but that the wounded man died after coughing up blood.

Colin Palakiko said he was shopping at the mall when the attack occurred, The Washington Post reported.

Palakiko said he saw a person in a white uniform lying face-down on the ground with a gunshot wound to the front of his body, according to The Washington Post.

He said he believed the victim was a mall security guard.

The gunman was wearing a tactical vest packed with ammunition, according to The Washington Post.

Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey said an officer from his department was handling an unrelated matter at the mall when the attack unfolded.

“One of our officers was on an unrelated call at the outlet mall,” Chief Harvey said, according to CNN. “He heard gunshots, went to the gunshots, engaged the suspect, and neutralized the suspect.”

The heroic officer ultimately shot and killed Garcia, ending the massacre.

An attorney representing the unnamed officer said in a statement to the Independent on Monday that his client is a “brave servant with a gentle heart.”

He said the officer is “doing well,” but that he has asked for privacy while he “continues to process this life altering tragedy,” according to the Independent.

The Allen Police Department (APD) said the Texas Department of Public Safety is leading the investigation with the assistance of the APD, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Texas Rangers, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“We ask for your continued prayers for the victims and families impacted by this tragic event,” the APD said.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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