Authorities and witnesses are praising a police officer’s heroic actions in ending a shooting rampage at a mall in Allen, Texas, that left eight dead and seven injured on May 6.
The officer, who remains unidentified, was responding to a separate call when he heard the gunshots and rushed to the H&M store at Allen Premium Outlets.
According to Allen Police Department Chief Brian Harvey, the officer made a frantic call for backup, shouting, “I need everybody I got,” as he approached the store.
The officer was also recorded on police radio as saying, “I’ve got people running. There’s still shooting.”
He then engaged the shooter, identified by law enforcement as 33-year-old Mauricio Martinez Garcia, and neutralized him.
Authorities said the shooter, who had posted extremist content on social media and praised previous mass shootings, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun at the time.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and others affected by this heinous act. We are thankful for the police officer’s heroic actions and for the support of all the first responders,” the mall said in a statement.
The shooting is one of more than 200 similar incidents that have taken place this year.
The White House said President Biden had been briefed on the shooting and offered support to local officials. Texas Governor Greg Abbott called it an “unspeakable tragedy.”
Witnesses described the chaos and fear they experienced during the shooting.
One witness, Fontayne Payton, was at a store when he heard gunshots through his headphones. “It was so loud, it sounded like it was right outside,” Payton said. “I pray it wasn’t kids, but it looked like kids.”
Another witness, Tarakram Nunna, saw three people motionless on the ground as she fled the scene. Sharkie Mouli, who was in a store during the shooting, also witnessed an unconscious police officer lying next to another unconscious person outside an outlet store.
The Dallas office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene, as did ambulances from several neighboring cities, nearly 30 police cruisers and multiple armored vehicles.