Three children among the victims of Allen Mall

Akash Arjun
Akash Arjun

Global Courant 2023-05-09 02:49:14

A three-year-old boy and his parents, two elementary school children and a young engineer from India have been named as victims of a shooting in Texas on Saturday.

James Cho died along with his parents Cho Kyu Song, 37, and Kang Shin Young, 35, according to reports. His six-year-old brother was injured but survived.

The identifications come as officials investigate whether the killer had ties to far-right organizations or beliefs.

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Eight were killed in the shooting.

Several victims are still in hospital.

A verified GoFundMe page says the Cho family were at the Allen Premium Outlets mall on Saturday to exchange clothes their six-year-old son had received as a birthday present a few days earlier.

“An afternoon that should have been filled with light, love and celebration was sadly cut short by another mass shooting,” friends of the family wrote on the page.

Officials at the Korean consulate in Texas told the Dallas Morning News that the Cho family are American citizens of Korean descent and that diplomats are in contact with their relatives.

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Elementary school students Daniela and Sofia Mendoza, who were sisters, were also killed. Their mother, Ida, is in critical condition in hospital, according to CBS News, the BBC’s American partner.

Aishwarya Thatikonda, a 27-year-old engineer from India, was also killed while visiting the mall with a friend, as was 20-year-old security guard Christian LaCour.

Six people were pronounced dead at the scene in the north Dallas suburbs, while two later died in hospital.

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The 33-year-old suspect, Mauricio Garcia, was shot dead by a police officer responding to an unrelated phone call, ending the attack.

Investigators are now scrutinizing social media to investigate the killer’s beliefs, CBS reports.

During the attack, the gun-wielding assailant wore a badge associated with hate groups, as well as tactical combat gear.

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He was seen on video wearing a clothing patch with the letters RWDS, which stands for “Right Wing Death Squad”.

This is a phrase popular among right-wing extremists and white supremacist groups.

A memorial with a crying woman

An account of the suspect on a Russian-based social network, seen by BBC News, includes photos of Nazi swastikas and SS tattoos, other posts glorifying Nazis, and rambling reports of violence.

He also posted photos from past visits to the outlet mall as recently as mid-April.

According to the US Department of Defense, the suspect entered the US Army in June 2008 and was “discharged three months later without completing initial entry training” due to “physical or mental conditions”.

He was reportedly working as a security guard at the time of the shooting and had no serious criminal record. Officials searched his parents’ home and a nearby extended-stay motel where he recently lived.

There have been 201 mass shootings this year according to the Gun Violence Archiveswhich defines such incidents as four injured or killed.

People who went to help the victims in the aftermath of the shooting at the sprawling outdoor mall recalled their efforts to save lives.

Meanwhile, graphic videos of the scene quickly spread and gained millions of views on Twitter ahead of the social media site began deleting the footage more than 24 hours after the attack.

US President Joe Biden ordered flags in the White House to be flown at half-mast in honor of the victims of “the last act of gun violence that devastated our nation.”

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News on Sunday that his goal was to crack down on gun ownership by criminals and address a growing mental health crisis, rather than contemplating broader bans.

“People want a quick fix,” he said. “The long-term solution here is to address the mental health issue.”

A racially diverse suburb north of Dallas, Allen has an infamous connection to another recent mass shooting.

A man living there in 2019 went on a rampage at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 23 people, after posting a racist manifesto online. In February, he pleaded guilty to hate crime charges.

Additional reporting by Shayan Sardarizadeh

Three children among the victims of Allen Mall

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