The suspect in a mass shooting at a suburban Dallas shopping center who is accused of killing eight people and injuring several more planned his attack at peak hours and shared images of a business nearby on social media in mid-April.
According to Mauricio Garcia’s tweets on a Russian social media platform, the 33-year-old had been preparing the attack for days before he got out of a silver automobile and started shooting on Saturday. Two sisters in their early elementary school years, a couple and their little kid, age 3, and a security guard were also among the victims.
Disturbing Social Media Hints
He also displayed a preoccupation with white nationalism and mass killings online, which he referred to as a sport. Large Nazi tattoos, including a swastika and the SS lightning bolt emblem of Hitler’s paramilitary forces, could be seen on his arm and chest in photos he shared.
Other tweets revealed the shooter had planned the carnage, which ended when police shot and killed him, for Saturday afternoons, when Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, one of the most diverse suburbs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, would be the busiest.
On Monday, a photograph of the gunman started to emerge as a result of online activity.
According to neighbors and an Army official, he was released from the Army in 2008 due to mental health difficulties, and it appears that he was employed as a security guard then.
By looking for active accounts with the shooter’s birthday that were based in the United States, Aric Toler, director of training and research at the global research organization bellingcat.com, claimed to have found the shooter’s profile on the website OK.RU. The narrative included papers from a motel where the shooter slept before the shooting, a photograph of a traffic ticket with the shooter’s name and birthdate, and was independently verified by the Associated Press.
According to a federal law enforcement official who spoke to the AP under the condition of anonymity and couldn’t disclose specifics of the case publicly, federal officials looking into the shooting’s motivation also looked at the internet postings.
The official further stated that the shooter was wearing a patch on his chest when police fatally shot him that read “RWDS,” an acronym for the term “Right Wing De@th Squad,” which is popular among right-wing extremists and white supremacy groups.
Senator Chris Van Hollen speak on the shooting:
Inaction is killing Americans as another mass shooting tears a community apart.
One clear immediate step: get weapons of war off our streets & out of our neighborhoods. We need to ban military-style assault weapons NOW.https://t.co/uwvKFLF2UL
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 7, 2023
Looking Into the Background of the Shooter
According to the official, investigators have also questioned the shooter’s relatives and friends about his political views and are looking through his financial records and other electronic media.
According to U.S. Army spokesperson Heather J. Hagan, the gunman enlisted in the Army in 2008 but was discharged three months later without finishing his basic training.
He was dismissed due to mental health difficulties, according to an Army official who went on the record under the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.
According to a defense official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters, the gunman was given an “uncharacterized” discharge, which is typical for recruits who fail to complete training or the first 180 days. That kind of dismissal, which is not dishonorable, wouldn’t raise concerns or necessitate reporting to the police.
Neighbors on the Dallas block where the shooter formerly resided in a family house said they believed he was a security guard, but they were unsure of where. When messages were sent to the mall’s management business requesting more information, no response was received right away.
Despite not knowing her neighbors well, the woman who lives next door described them as friendly and polite. She claimed that the man officials claim would later turn out to be the shooter was always polite, honking, and waving.
According to a law enforcement official, detectives have also investigated a Dallas motel where the shooter had previously resided before the attack.
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Dissent and Sorrow
Two Republicans voted with Democrats to pass a bill that would raise the purchase age for semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21, despite the legislation having little to no chance of actually becoming law. This was done amid rallies for stronger gun control on Monday at the Texas Capitol.
The shooting was the most recent incident to add to this year’s extraordinary number of mass homicides in the United States. Just over a week earlier, five people in Cleveland, Texas were shot and killed when a neighbor requested a man to stop shooting his gun while a baby slept, according to investigators.
The neighborhood mourned the victims while it awaited updates on the seven injured persons. Medical City Healthcare reported on Monday that it was attending to six patients at a children’s hospital, of whom three were in critical condition, two were in fair condition, and one was in good health. According to the police, a seventh injured person was sent to another hospital.
One of the many different suburbs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is Allen, which has around 105,000 residents. According to U.S. Census data, the region experienced the fastest growth of Asian Americans of any significant U.S. metro area. According to those figures, the population of Allen is roughly 19% Asian, 10% Black, and 11% Hispanic.
Allen is also linked to another recent mass shooting in Texas. Before writing an online racist tirade warning of a “Hispanic invasion” and driving to El Paso, where he opened fire at a Walmart, killing 23, Patrick Crusius lived there. In February, the 24-year-old admitted guilt to federal charges of using a weapon and a hate crime.
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