Texas authorities are investigating possible right-wing extremism motives behind the mass shooting at a Dallas shopping mall that left eight people dead on Sunday.
The heavily armed gunman, a Dallas resident, was named Mauricio Garcia, aged 33. He was shot dead by a police officer.
Investigators quoted by US media say Garcia may have had far-right links, as suggested by a clothing patch he wore.
He used an AR-15 style rifle and wore combat gear with – sources told CBS News – a patch bearing the letters RWDS, standing for “Right Wing Death Squad” – believed to be a neo-Nazi group. Garcia also had a handgun, and more weapons were discovered in his car.
Some members of extremist groups have been seen in public in recent years with patches bearing the letters “RWDS,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors and reports on extremism.
Scenes of panic and horror at Texas mass shooting
Witnesses described scenes of panic and horror when the gunman got out of his car in a mall parking lot and began firing on shoppers.
an eyewitness describes what he saw when he arrived at the scene of the Texas mall shooting pic.twitter.com/oMqXBMx5Ns
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 7, 2023
Six people were pronounced dead at the scene in the north Dallas suburbs, while two died later in hospital. At least three injured victims remained in critical condition on Sunday.
Multiple rounds of ammunition were found on Garcia who was wearing armoured ballistic gear, a police source told CBS.
President Biden described the rampage as “the latest act of gun violence to devastate our nation”.
He renewed calls for the U.S. Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as to enact universal background checks and end immunity for gun manufacturers. The president noted that Garcia had been wielding an AR-15 rifle and wearing tactical gear.
Investigators are combing through social media and online accounts looking for clues as to whether he may have had links to domestic violent extremists and like-minded individuals.
The massacre unfolded a few weeks after a gunman killed five people in Cleveland, Texas, about 45 miles north of Houston. It also came in the same week a gunman opened fire in a medical facility in Atlanta, killing one woman and wounding four others.
And it came just weeks before Texas will mark a year since 19 students and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde.
There have been 202 mass shootings across the US within the first five months of this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit defines mass shootings as those in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter.