Police probe possible neo-Nazi ties of Texas gunman who wore "Right Wing Death Squad" patch: report

Suspected gunman Mauricio Garcia wore a patch bearing initials used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published May 8, 2023 10:47AM (EDT)

People watch as the construction of a wooden cross memorial is completed at the site of a fatal mass shooting a day earlier at Allen Premium Outlets on May 7, 2023 in Allen, Texas. (Stewart F. House/Getty Images)
People watch as the construction of a wooden cross memorial is completed at the site of a fatal mass shooting a day earlier at Allen Premium Outlets on May 7, 2023 in Allen, Texas. (Stewart F. House/Getty Images)

The alleged gunman who claimed the lives of eight people at a Dallas suburbs mall in Texas over the weekend evidently held views aligned with white supremacist and Neo-Nazi beliefs that are now being analyzed as possible motivations for the onslaught, according to The Washington Post.

Though police have not yet released a motive for the attack, 33-year-old suspected gunman Mauricio Garcia was wearing a patch on his chest with the letters "RWDS," an acronym that stands for Right Wing Death Squad, according to people familiar with the investigation. The Daily Beast reported that the initials are used amongst Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and paramilitaries. Investigators are now approaching the shooting as a possible hate crime, per The Post.

Political pundit Brian Tyler Cohen called attention to the fact that the same patch was worn by Jeremy Bertino, "one of the Proud Boys who just pled guilty to seditious conspiracy on January 6."

"The Allen, Texas mass shooter was wearing the same patch," he added.

People familiar with the ongoing investigation said that the shooter was staying in a Dallas-area hotel around the time of the shooting. They added that the gunman's parents have been cooperating with authorities as they endeavor to learn more about whether he acted alone. 

Video footage of the shooting's aftermath circulated on Twitter on Saturday night — various clips showed the bodies of victims heaped outside the mall. 

"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," according to the Associated Press.

The shooting is the second in less than ten days in Texas. Late last month, in Cleveland, Texas, an intoxicated man fatally shot five of his neighbors — execution style — with an AR-15 style rifle after they asked him to stop shooting into the air. 

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Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott drew criticism in the wake of the shooting for referring to the victims as "illegal immigrants" in the same statement that offered condolences to the victims' families. 

"I've announced a $50K reward for info on the criminal who killed 5 illegal immigrants Friday," Abbott said in a statement posted on Twitter. 

At least eight people were killed and nine others were injured in a separate attack on Sunday in Brownsville, Texas after a Range Rover SUV rammed into a crowd waiting for a bus outside a migrant shelter.

Luis Herrera, who was among those hit by the car, stated that the driver, a Hispanic male, "was taunting people standing at the bus stop, driving past them and yelling insults."

Herrera told The Post that the suspect was yelling, "You're invading my property!"

WaPo also reported that Brownsville is one of the busier hubs of migrant crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border, as it borders the Mexican city of Matamoros.

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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