On May 6, 2023, an outlet mall in Allen, Texas was the site of the latest mass shooting incident, resulting in the second most lethal mass shooting of the year. Most local leaders are relying on the community for help.
According to CNN, authorities have not announced a motive for why the gunman, a 33-year-old male, targeted the Allen Premium Outlets. But recent reports show the shooter had possible extremist, neo-Nazi ties. The gunman was killed by an Allen police officer, who was nearby for an unrelated call.
At least eight people were killed and seven more were wounded in the massacre. Multiple victims are being treated at nearby hospitals.
Governor Greg Abbott responded to the shooting and said he was in contact with local officials, Mayor Fulk and DPS Director McCraw. “Our hearts are with the people of Allen, Texas tonight during this unspeakable tragedy,” said Governor Abbott. Texas Gov. Abbott said the state is working to "get the guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals" during an interview with Fox News Sunday. During the interview, Gov. Abbott also rejected gun control as a solution.
Rep. Jeff Leach, whose district includes Allen, and who co-authored the state's permitless carry law, said he's "grateful to stand by law enforcement and other local leaders to offer words of hope and healing to my hurting community."
Allen Mayor Ken Fulk released a statement on May 7, 2023, and said, despite the shooting, that Allen is a safe city which makes the violence even more shocking.
“We are a strong and caring community and we want all of the victims and their families impacted by this tragedy to know that we will wrap our arms around you, and we are here for you,” Mayor Fulk said. “The city of Allen pledges to offer our complete support. We know you are grieving, we are grieving. Rest assured, the nation and the world are also grieving.”
The congressman who represents Allen, Rep. Keith Self, criticized those who say that thoughts and prayers are not enough to combat gun violence. Rep. Self did not respond for comment prior to publishing.
“Those are people that don’t believe in an almighty God who is absolutely in control of our lives,” Rep. Self said in an official statement. “Today we should be focused on the families. Prayers are important — prayer is powerful in the lives of those people who are devastated right now.”
But some local organizations are actively helping the victims of the shooting. VictimsFirst was started to help those most directly impacted by mass shootings across the nation. The victim/survivor nonprofit established a GoFundMe and said that 100% of the profit collected will go directly to the families of the deceased and those wounded.
The nonprofit also asked leadership in Texas to bring in the National Compassion Fund, as was done in Uvalde, to help distribute funds that are collected for the victims and survivors, as well as to quickly provide trauma specialists. “We believe in a completely transparent process that allows those directly impacted the privacy to cope and survive the way they need to and choose to,” a statement read.
The Allen Premium Outlets will remain closed on May 8, 2023, and no one will be allowed to enter any store. Vehicle retrieval will occur from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Edge Skate Park. Authorities allowed some shoppers to pick up their vehicles on the evening of May 7, with a window from 5:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.