A gunman killed eight people in a shopping spree in Texas. The crime happened on Saturday in Allen, a suburb of the city of Dallas. A police officer who happened to be on site at the time shot the alleged perpetrator before there could have been any more fatalities, the local authorities said at a press conference on Saturday evening (local time). Seven injured are still being treated in hospital, three of them are in critical condition.
According to police, a police officer who was working on something else at the time heard shots in the shopping complex on Saturday afternoon. The officer intervened immediately, caught the shooter and "switched it off". Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey said he was believed to have acted alone. The background to the crime initially remained unclear.
Local fire chief Jonathan Boyd said rescue workers initially found seven dead, including the shooter, when they arrived at the scene. Nine people were taken to the hospital, two of whom died from their injuries. The remaining seven would still be treated. The authorities initially did not provide more detailed information about the fatalities and injuries, nor about the perpetrator.
TV pictures showed people being led out of the large shopping complex. Eyewitnesses told CNN that they heard dozens of shots and saw a man dressed in black firing.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in a statement describing the incident as an "unspeakable tragedy." The White House said US President Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident. The government headquarters are in contact with law enforcement and local authorities to offer support.
The US has long faced massive levels of gun violence. Rampages and deadly shootouts are part of everyday life. Larger attacks of this kind - for example in schools, supermarkets, churches, nightclubs or at large public events - regularly lead to discussions about tightening gun laws. So far without any success. Firearms are readily available and widely circulated in the United States.
Biden repeatedly calls for stricter gun laws and has slightly tightened certain regulations during his tenure. Without substantial changes in the law, however, experts see no chance of real change. In order to implement this, however, Biden and his Democrats would have to rely on the willingness of the Republicans in Congress to cooperate - and there is no sign of that on this topic.
Just a few days ago, there was also a sensational case of brutal gun violence in Texas: A 38-year-old shot five neighbors, including a child, in a small town near Houston. The neighbors had previously asked him to stop shooting around in his front yard so their baby could sleep. Instead of calming down, the drunk man went over a little later with a gun and committed the bloodbath.