Names of Victims and Official Updates Limited in Allen Outlet Shooting
The Allen Premium Outlets shopping center on Stacy Road in Texas became the site of a deadly mass shooting on May 6, 2021, when 33-year-old Maurico Garcia from Dallas opened fire, killing eight people and injuring at least seven others. Law enforcement officials have been slow to disclose information, leaving news outlets and the media to rely on anonymous sources. The highly anticipated announcement of Garcia’s identity as the gunman came only through a brief text issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), which is now handling the investigation.
The shooting, which left not only eight innocent people dead and several others wounded, but also the community in a state of fear and anxiety, has led to a discussion of the escalation of violence in society. Dallas Democrat state Sen. Nathan Johnson expressed his grief and concern over the rise of violence in society in a statement released on Sunday, desperate to find a solution to reverse the deadly slide into an increasingly violent culture. A number of news outlets have pointed out that a lack of verified information could potentially fuel speculation and even enable bad actors seeking to propagate misinformation.
Some of the victims have been identified, such as Christian LaCour, 20, and Aishwarya Thatikonda, 27. According to reports, LaCour was working as a mall security guard when he was killed, and Thatikonda, who was an engineer and had family in India, was visiting the mall. Cho Kyu Song, 37, Kang Shin Young, 35, and their 3-year-old son were also among those killed, while their 6-year-old child survived and is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital. The Mendoza sisters, Daniela and Sofia, aged fourth and second grade respectively, were also identified and were found to be among the victims of the tragic shooting.
Reports have surfaced suggesting that Garcia was driven by extreme right-wing views and white supremacist ideology, a fact that has led to even more scrutiny over gun control in the United States. Garcia’s discharge from the military in 2008 because of “mental health concerns” has also been revealed alongside authorities stating that they believe Garcia was an “incel”, a term used by men who consider themselves to be involuntarily celibate.
President Joe Biden ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-mast, and he called out Congress to draft and pass bills and legislation banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring universal background checks, ending immunity for gun manufacturers, and making safe storage a legal requirement.
Despite the lack of information, ever-increasing public scrutiny and discussion, and growing public unrest, the DPS has yet to announce any plans for further press briefings or conferences about the ongoing investigation. McKinney counseling firm Life Path Systems has offered free counseling services to all Collin County residents affected by the tragic events.