Two victims who were killed at a Texas shopping centre after a suspected neo-Nazi sympathiser opened fire, killing at least eight people on Saturday, have been named.
Security guard Christian LaCour, 20, and Aishwarya Thatikonda, a 27-year-old engineer from India, were among the victims killed at Allen Premium Outlets shopping centre, in a suburb north of Dallas, according to their families and a non-profit group supporting them.
The gunman, named by police as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, was armed with an AR-15 style assault weapon and was shot dead by an officer at the scene on Saturday afternoon.
Mr LaCour’s grandmother named the security guard as a victim of the shooting and described her grandson as “such a beautiful soul”, according to a post on Facebook.
Sandra Montgomery wrote: “He was such a beautiful soul, 20 years old with goals for his future I was so proud of him and so glad I got to see him two weeks ago.”
“Please pray for my family”, she added: “I know they are very close and this is almost unbearable”.
Ms Thatikonda’s death was confirmed by the Telugu Association of North America, a non-profit group that serves the Telugu community, and is assisting her family.
The representative said Ms Thatikonda’s family will have her remains sent to India, Sky News’s US partner, NBC News reported.
US President Joe Biden confirmed that the victims included children. Authorities have not yet formally released the identities of the victims.
Garcia is said to have been wearing a tactical vest and was equipped with a handgun during the shooting, as officials continue to investigate the motive.
Dashcam footage from the scene showed the gunman stepping out of a vehicle and firing outside the shopping centre, sending hundreds of shoppers fleeing in panic.
Garcia, who lived in Dallas, is believed to have interacted with neo-Nazi and white supremacist content online, as well as posting such content, two senior police sources told NBC News.
According to officers, an initial review of what are believed to be his social media accounts revealed hundreds of posts about ethnicity and race, including what is being described as violent extremist rhetoric. Authorities also found a clothing patch with a far-right acronym on his chest.
The patch included the letters RWDS, believed to stand for Right Wing Death Squad, according to CBS, who cited two senior police sources.
Right Wing Death Squad are said to be a neo-Nazi group.
Officials said they were investigating whether the shooting was racially or ethnically motivated, but stressed that the investigation was ongoing and at an early stage.
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On Sunday, Mr Biden renewed calls for Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as to enact universal background checks and end immunity for gun manufacturers.
He noted that Garcia had been wielding an AR-15 rifle and wearing tactical gear.
The killings were the latest in at least 199 mass shootings that have occurred in the United States so far in 2023, according to the non-profit group Gun Violence Archive.