Texas Mall Massacre Took Place in a ‘Gun-Free Zone’: Why Did the Gunman Do It?
A vigil was held Sunday afternoon at Cottonwood Creek Church for the victims of the weekend shooting in Allen, Texas. Jeston Katebe, discipleship minister at the church, prayed for the families of the victims, “We pray, Lord God, that you will surround them with words of encouragement. Minister to them as you do graciously.” Gunfire at the outlet mall erupted at 3:30 Saturday afternoon, sending shoppers running for their lives. A young man working inside the mall said, “I hid behind a freezer and everybody thought that we were doomed.” The dead included young children. Shooting witness Genie Ruple said, “To see these first responders visibly shaking and crying and sick…that will always be on my mind.” Officials said seven people are still hospitalized, including three in critical condition. The shooter was killed after an officer on a different call ran toward the gunfire. Federal officials are looking into whether the gunman, 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, had an interest in white supremacist and neo -Nazi Ideology. He was reportedly discharged from the Army in 2008 for “mental health concerns”. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, responding to critics of Texas’ gun laws, said America has a mental health crisis. “We’ve seen an increased number of shootings in states with easy gun laws as well as states with very strict gun laws. And what Texas is doing in a big-time way, we are working to address that anger and violence by going to its root cause which is addressing the mental health problems behind it,” Abbott told Fox News Sunday. A copy of the outlet mall’s rules indicates it was a “gun-free zone”. The shooting, coming one week after the killing of 5 people by a shooter in Cleveland, Texas , has only intensified the debate over the Constitution’s right to bear arms and how to keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people.