ALLEN, Texas (AP) — A gunman got out of a silver sedan and opened fire on people at a Dallas-area outlet mall on Saturday, killing eight and wounding seven others — three critically — before being killed by a police officer who was nearby, authorities said.
Authorities did not immediately provide details about the victims at Allen Premium Outlets, a sprawling outdoor mall, but witnesses reported seeing children among them. Some said they also saw what appeared to be a police officer and a mall security guard unconscious on the ground.
The shooting, the latest flare-up in an unprecedented pace of mass killings in the US, sent hundreds fleeing in panic.
A 16-year-old bagel stand worker, Maxwell Gumm, described a virtual stampede of shoppers. He and others sheltered in a storage room.
“We started running. The kids were trampled,” Gumm said. “My colleague took a 4-year-old girl and gave her to her parents.”
Dashcam video circulating online shows the gunman getting out of a car and shooting at people on the sidewalk. More than three dozen gunshots could be heard as the vehicle recording the video drove away.
Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd said seven people, including the shooter, died at the scene. Nine victims were taken to area hospitals, but two of them died.
Three of the injured were in critical condition overnight, Boyd said, and four were stable.
An Allen police officer was in the area on an unrelated call when he heard gunshots at 3:36 p.m., the police department wrote on Facebook.
“The officer engaged the suspect and neutralized the threat. He then called an emergency team,” he added.
Mass murders have occurred with staggering frequency in the United States this year: an average of about one per week, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.
The White House said President Biden had been briefed on the shooting and the administration had offered support to local authorities. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has signed laws easing restrictions on firearms after past mass shootings, called it an “unspeakable tragedy.”
Fontaine Peyton, 35, was in H&M when he heard gunshots through his headphones.
“It was so loud it was like it was right outside,” Payton said.
People in the store dispersed before employees ushered the group into fitting rooms and then a locked back room, he said. When they were given permission to leave, Peyton saw that the store had broken windows and a trail of blood by the door. Discarded sandals and bloodstained clothes lay nearby.
Once outside, Peyton saw bodies.
“I was praying it wasn’t kids, but it looked like kids,” he said. The bodies were covered with white towels, placed on sacks on the ground.
“It blew me away when I went out to see that,” he said.
Farther on he saw the body of a large man dressed entirely in black. He assumed it was the shooter, Payton said, because unlike the other bodies, it was not hidden.
Tarakram Noona, 25, and Ramakrishna Mulapudi, 26, said they saw what appeared to be three people motionless on the ground, including one who appeared to be a police officer and one who appeared to be a mall security guard.
Another shopper, Sharky Mullie, 24, said he hid inside a Banana Republic store during the shooting. As he was leaving, he saw what appeared to be an unconscious police officer lying next to another unconscious person outside the store.
“I’ve seen his gun laying right next to him and a guy who looks like he’s passed out right next to him,” Mullie said.
Stan and Mary Ann Green were browsing the Columbia sportswear store when the shooting started.
“We had just come in, just a few minutes earlier, and we just heard a very loud pop,” Mary Ann Green told The Associated Press.
Employees climbed down the security door and took everyone to the back of the store until police arrived and escorted them out, the Greens said.
Eber Romero was in the Under Armor store when a cashier mentioned there was a shooting.
As he left the store, Romero said, the mall appeared empty and all the stores had their security doors down. Then he starts seeing broken windows and gunshots on the floor.
A video shared on social media shows people running across a parking lot amid the sound of gunshots.
More than 30 police cars with flashing lights blocked the entrance to the shopping center and multiple ambulances were on the scene.
A live broadcast from the air from a news station showed armored trucks and other law enforcement vehicles outside the mall.
Ambulances from several neighboring towns responded.
The Dallas office of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded.
Allen, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of downtown Dallas, has approximately 105,000 residents.
Associated Press writers Gene Johnson in Seattle and Adam Kealoha Causey in Dallas contributed to this report.