ALLEN, Texas —According to a law enforcement official, federal officials are investigating whether the shooter responsible for the killing of eight people at a mall near Dallas had an interest in white supremacist ideology.
The investigation is in its early stages, and federal agents are examining social media accounts believed to be used by the suspect, Mauricio Garcia, as well as interviewing family members and associates to determine his ideological beliefs.
The suspect had a patch on his chest with the acronym “RWDS,” which is popular among right-wing extremists and white supremacy groups. Financial records and other electronic media are also being reviewed by investigators.
The Allen Police Chief declined to provide further details about the investigation. Garcia was killed by a police officer on the day of the attack.
According to a law enforcement official, a Dallas motel where Mauricio Garcia had been staying was searched by investigators. The official stated that multiple weapons were found at the scene, including an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun, after Garcia was killed.
In addition, two law enforcement officials, who spoke anonymously due to the ongoing investigation, said that a Dallas home connected to the suspect was also searched by investigators.
Marsha Alexander, who lives three houses down from the Dallas home, said she witnessed a large group of uniformed officers entering the house on Saturday evening, and they returned a second time before leaving the area by Sunday morning.
Julie, a woman living next door to the searched home, stated that she saw four police squad cars and a group of officers outside the house on Saturday evening. She also observed FBI agents and plainclothes individuals joining the officers about an hour later.
According to a law enforcement official, investigators have been searching a Dallas motel near the interstate where the suspect, Mauricio Garcia, had been staying.
They found multiple weapons, including an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun, at the scene after Garcia was killed by police. Additionally, two law enforcement officials said investigators searched a Dallas home connected to the suspect, and a neighbor reported seeing a large group of uniformed officers enter the house on Saturday.
President Joe Biden issued a statement urging Congress to enact tighter restrictions on firearms and ammunition and ordered flags lowered to half-staff. The shooting at the mall was the latest in a series of mass killings that have occurred at an unprecedented pace this year in the US.
The community in Allen mourned the dead and prayed for the wounded, who remained hospitalized on Sunday.
During a Sunday night vigil at Cottonwood Creek Church, attended by Governor Greg Abbott and other elected officials, Pastor Caton offered prayers for the victims, first responders, and those affected by the shooting.
Earlier that day, Governor Abbott said on Fox News that Texas would not enact gun control laws, stating that the long-term solution to mass shootings is to address mental health issues.
The shooting occurred at Allen Premium Outlets, an outdoor shopping center where witnesses reported seeing children among the victims. Andria Gaither, the assistant manager at a Tommy Hilfiger store, said she heard shots being fired and saw customers and store employees running to the back of the store before eventually fleeing out a back door.
Allen is a suburb of Dallas with a population of about 105,000 residents, known for its diversity with a population of approximately 19% Asian, 10% Black, and 11% Hispanic.
It was also connected to a previous mass shooting in Texas when Patrick Crusius, who lived in Allen in 2019, posted a racist screed online before driving to El Paso and killing 23 people at a Walmart in 2019.