Crime

Victims of Texas mall shooting include at least 3 children

Seven of the eight victims killed in a shooting at a Texas outlet mall have been identified.

Victims of Texas mall shooting include at least 3 children
WFAA via AP
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The eight victims killed when a gunman opened fire at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, on Saturday have been identified. 

They include men, women and children, whose names are not released. 

Christian LaCour, 20, was reportedly working as a security guard at the mall when the shooting occurred. 

"He was a really sweet kid," his sister, Brianna Smith, told ABC News. I'm sad that he's gone."

A representative for the family of 27-year-old Aishwarya Thatikonda told Dallas TV station WFAA that she was at the mall with a friend when gunshots rang out. 

The woman's body will reportedly be flown to India, where her family lives. 

Yonhap, a South Korean news agency, reported on Monday that three members of a Korean American family were also among the victims: Kyu Song Cho, 37; Cindy Cho, 35; and their 3-year-old child were killed. Their other child was injured and is being treated at a local hospital, the outlet reported.  

At least two other children were killed in the shooting, according to WFAA. The TV station said a girl in fourth grade and a girl in second grade were killed. Their mother was reportedly critically injured in the shooting. 

Elio Cumana-Rivas, a 32-year-old man, was also killed in the shooting.

33-year-old identified as the suspect in Texas mall shooting
33-year-old identified as the suspect in Texas mall shooting

33-year-old identified as the suspect in Texas mall shooting

Report: Investigators are looking into whether the gunman was interested in white supremacist ideology as they work to find a shooting motive.

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The tragedy is the 199th mass shooting of 2023 and the second deadliest this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

On Monday, Texas state senators led by State Sen. Roland Gutierrez gathered in front of the press to speak on gun control legislation.

"Since 2015, we've lost probably about 100 Texans as a result of these mass shootings," Democratic State Sen. Royce West said during the press conference.

"3,647 Texans die by guns in an average year. An average of 372 children and teens die by guns every year," said Democratic State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt.

As the Allen community mourns the losses from the shooting, many activists, survivors of past mass shootings and Democratic lawmakers across the state are pushing for change in the form of gun legislation. That includes universal background checks, red flag laws and raising the age to purchase guns from 18 to 21.

According to a U.S. Army official, the 33-year-old gunman was discharged from the U.S. Army in 2008 because of mental health issues. Activists say red flag laws would have prevented him from owning a firearm.

"It is important that we send a message today that the vast majority of Texans want to have common sense gun safety solutions," said State Sen. Roland Gutierrez.

In a surprise vote on Monday, the Texas House Select Committee on Community Safety voted 8 to 5 to pass H.B. 2744, a bill which would raise the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21. 

Local outlets reported the bill will face "an uphill climb" to become a state law, and a similar bill in the Senate has not yet received a hearing.

Over the past several years, Texas has loosened its firearm restrictions — including passing a permitless carry bill in 2021.

"Thirty-nine. That's the number of bills that have been proposed by Democrats in the Texas Senate on gun reform. We have yet to have a hearing. Those bills have been referred, but no action has been taken," said State Sen. Carol Alvarado.

Investigators are now looking into whether the gunman — who used an AR-15-style weapon and was wearing tactical gear — had an interest in White supremacist or neo-Nazi beliefs.