Gruesome footage of a deadly mass shooting in Texas provides (another) wake-up call

At least 8 people were killed — some of them children — after a gunman opened fire at a Texas mall on Saturday

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published May 7, 2023 10:28AM (EDT)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a shooting at Allen Premium Outlets on May 6, 2023 in Allen, Texas. (Stewart F. House/Getty Images)
Emergency personnel work the scene of a shooting at Allen Premium Outlets on May 6, 2023 in Allen, Texas. (Stewart F. House/Getty Images)

On Saturday evening, anyone scrolling through Twitter likely came upon startling video footage of the aftermath of a mass shooting that took place at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in Texas. In the various clips — some censored, and others not — the bodies of victims ranging in ages from 5 to 51 lay piled in a heap outside of the mall where a lone gunman had opened fire and was later taken down by responding law enforcement.

According to reporting by Forth Worth Star-Telegram, Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey provided a statement saying that "an officer was on an unrelated call at the outlet mall at 3:36 p.m. when he heard gunshots and ran toward them."

According to AP News, "dashcam video circulating online showed the gunman getting out of a car and shooting at people on the sidewalk. More than three dozen shots could be heard as the vehicle that was recording the video drove off."

"We started running. Kids were getting trampled," 16-year-old pretzel stand employee, Maxwell Gum said regarding the scene inside the mall while the shooting was taking place. "My co-worker picked up a 4-year-old girl and gave her to her parents."

Allen police have confirmed that the gunman was "engaged and neutralized." As of Sunday morning, the shooter's identity and motive have not been made known. 

Reporting by CNN references a photo that "appears to be the gunman lying on the ground after being shot, with an AR-15-style firearm nearby. He is clad in black body armor and appears to have several extra magazines strapped in his chest gear."

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on the shooting Saturday saying, "Our hearts are with the people of Allen, Texas tonight during this unspeakable tragedy." 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas issued a statement of his own saying, "Heidi and I are praying for the families of the victims of the horrific  mall shooting in Allen, Texas. We pray also for the broader Collin County community that's in shock from this tragedy."

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Cruz has historically built a platform on being pro-gun, issuing many statements in recent years saying that the only solution to violence is violence.

"If the objective is to stop these crimes, gun control is singularly ineffective," Cruz said at the 2022 Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.

In an interview with MSNBC, Steven Spainhouer — a former police and army officer who was at the scene helping to attend to victims — summed up the tragic event saying, "…it wasn't mental health that killed these people, it was an automatic rifle. I'm a gun lover. I have guns. I'm a former police officer. I'm a former Army officer ... prayers won't bring these people back. We need action in our legislatures."

Spainhouer was made aware of the shooting via a call from his son, an employee at the outlet's H&M store, according to CBS.

Recounting just one of the horrific things he witnessed as a result of the shooting, Spainhouer told CBS that he discovered a child underneath the body of his dead mother.

"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 somebody poured blood on him."

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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