US police responding to active shooter at Texas outlet mall

Eight people were killed in a shooting at an outlet mall near Dallas, and seven victims are being treated at trauma facilities, officials said Saturday night. The gunman, who authorities believe was acting alone, is also dead.

Allen, Texas, Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd said that at least nine people were sent to hospitals. "Of those that we transported, two have since died. Three are in critical surgery, and four are stable," said Boyd.

A Dallas-area medical group says it was treating victims as young as 5 years old.

Authorities in Allen responded to the afternoon shooting at Allen Premium Outlets, prompting shoppers and workers to hide.

There was a search for a second gunman, according to a source, but police now say they believe the shooter acted alone. Police said an Allen officer killed the shooter.

Video from above the scene showed hundreds of shoppers exiting the area, many holding their hands up. The aerial footage appeared to show at least three bodies covered by sheets outside the mall.

Shoppers leave as police respond to a shooting in the Dallas area's Allen Premium Outlets.
Shoppers leave as police respond to a shooting in the Dallas area's Allen Premium Outlets. Photo credit: Reuters

Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey described how the shooter was killed. "One of our officers was on an unrelated call at the outlet mall," said Harvey. "He heard gunshots, went to the gunshots, engaged the suspect, and neutralized the suspect."

Witnesses told CNN that they saw the gunman who was dressed all in black, and was wearing tactical gear.

In a photo obtained by CNN, the body of what appears to be the gunman is seen on the ground outside a restaurant location at the mall. The gunman, with an AR-15 style weapon nearby, appears to be wearing body armor with several extra magazines attached to chest gear.

Police believe they have identified the vehicle of the deceased suspect, which was being examined by the bomb squad as a precaution, the source says.

The mass shooting in Allen is the latest in a relentless series of gun violence across the nation that has brought terror to supermarkets, schools, hospitals and other places typically considered safe. It comes just days after a gunman became enraged during a visit to an Atlanta medical facility, allegedly shooting dead at least one person with a handgun and injuring four others before he was caught hours later.

The attack is one of at least 199 mass shootings this year in the US with four or more people shot, excluding a gunman, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Gov. Greg Abbott called the attack an "unspeakable tragedy," saying in a statement that "our hearts are with the people of Allen, Texas."

The City of Allen tweeted: "Our hearts are with the individuals and families impacted by this tragic event."

Rep. Keith Self, a Republican whose congressional district includes Allen, said the shooting could have been worse if not for the quick response by law enforcement to the gunfire.

"We will never know how many lives were saved by the swift actions of our first responders," Self said during a news conference Saturday night.

Shoppers and employees scrambled into storage areas and hid when they heard gunshots, they told CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera. Witnesses said some people sheltered in place for up to two hours as law enforcement cleared the sprawling complex.

One witness said that he saw a man holding his neck, and "blood (was) just dripping down."

Jaynal Pervez told CNN affiliate KTVT that he arrived at the mall after his daughter, who was inside, called to inform him about a shooting.

"We saw the police outside the door, and they told us we had to go, and that they are still looking for the person," Pervez said. "There's no more safe places. I don't know what to do."

Tony Wright, a resident whose home backs up to the Allen Premium Outlets, said his family thought they heard construction before they realized it was gunshots.

Wright said he was driving away from his house at the time and didn't hear the gunshots himself, but his family called him moments later, "freaking out," and saying they heard gunfire.

Initially, however, it wasn't clear.

"Everyone thought it was hammering," he said of the noise of gunfire that sounded like construction.

But he said once they saw people fleeing the outlet mall, the family locked the doors and hunkered down.