Two victims have been named who were killed in a Texas shopping mall after a suspected neo-Nazi sympathizer opened fire, killing at least eight people on Saturday.
Security guard Christian LaCour, 20, and Aishwarya Thatikonda, a 27-year-old Indian engineer, are among those killed at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in a north Dallas suburb, according to their families and a non-purpose group profit by supporting them.
The gunman, named by police as Mauricio Garcia, 33, was armed with an AR-15-style assault weapon and he was killed by an officer at the scene on Saturday afternoon.
Mr. LaCour’s grandmother named the security guard who was the victim of the shooting and described her grandson as “such a beautiful soul,” according to a Facebook post.
Sandra Montgomery wrote, “He was such a beautiful soul, 20 year old with goals for his future. I was so proud of him and so happy to have seen him two weeks ago.”
“Please pray for my family,” he added: “I know they are very close and this is almost unbearable.”
Ms Thatikonda’s death was confirmed by the Telugu Association of North America, a non-profit group that serves the Telugu community and is advocating for her family.
The representative said Ms Thatikonda’s family will have her remains sent to India, Sky News’ US partner, NBC News reported.
US President Joe Biden confirmed the victims included children. Authorities have not yet formally released the identity of the victims.
Garcia was said to have been wearing a tactical vest and was equipped with a handgun during the shooting, as officials continue to investigate the motive.
Dashcam footage of the scene showed the gunman getting out of a vehicle and shooting outside the mall, causing hundreds of shoppers to flee in panic.
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Garcia, who used to live in Dallas, is he is believed to have interacted with neo-Nazi and white supremacist content onlinein addition to posting such content, two senior police sources told NBC News.
According to officials, an initial review of what is believed to be his social media accounts revealed hundreds of posts about ethnicity and race, including what he described as violent extremist rhetoric. Authorities also found a clothing patch with a far-right acronym on his chest.
The patch included the letters RWDS, believed to stand for Right Wing Death Squad, according to CBS, which cited two senior police sources.
The right-wing death squad is said to be a neo-Nazi group.
Officials said they were investigating whether the shooting was racially or ethnically motivated, but stressed the investigation was ongoing and at an early stage.
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On Sunday, Biden renewed calls on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as implement universal background checks and end immunity for gunmakers.
He noted that Garcia was wielding an AR-15 rifle and wearing tactical gear.
The killings were the latest in at least 199 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2023, according to the nonprofit group Gun Violence Archive.