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Texas mall shooting claims six lives

A photo of people gathered outside Allen Texas mall shooting in the Texas.

A horrific shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in Texas on Saturday has left six people dead, including a three-year-old boy, two elementary school children, a young Indian engineer, and two others. According to reports, the victims were shot by a 33-year-old man who was later killed by police.

James Cho, the three-year-old boy, died along with his parents Cho Kyu Song and Kang Shin Young. His six-year-old brother was injured but survived. The Cho family were at the mall to exchange clothing their 6-year-old son had received as a birthday gift a few days before.

Read more: Three children among victims of Allen mall shooting in Texas

Also among the victims were primary school pupils Daniela and Sofia Mendoza, who were sisters. Their mother, Ida, remains in hospital in critical condition. Aishwarya Thatikonda, a 27-year-old engineer from India, was also killed during a visit to the mall with a friend, as well as security guard Christian LaCour, 20.

The shooting has raised concerns about the killer’s potential links to far-right organisations or beliefs. During the attack, the suspect wore combat tactical gear and an insignia associated with hate groups. He was seen on video with a clothing patch with the letters RWDS, which stands for “Right Wing Death Squad”. The suspect’s social media accounts also contained disturbing content glorifying Nazis and violence.

The suspect reportedly entered the US Army in 2008 but was terminated after three months due to “physical or mental conditions.” He was working as a security guard at the time of the shooting and did not have a serious criminal record. Officials have searched his parents’ home and a nearby extended-stay motel where he had been recently living.

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The Texas mall shooting is the latest in a string of mass shootings in the United States. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 201 mass shootings this year, which it defines as incidents in which four or more people are injured or killed.

The shooting has sparked renewed calls for gun control measures in the United States. US President Joe Biden has ordered flags at the White House to fly at half-mast in honour of the victims of “the latest act of gun violence to devastate our nation”. However, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott has focused on the need to address mental health issues rather than consider wider gun control measures.

The Texas mall shooting has shocked the community in Allen, a racially diverse suburb north of Dallas. The area was also the site of another mass shooting in 2019 when a man who lived there went on a gun rampage at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 23 people.

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