Eight people were killed while seven others sustained injuries on Saturday after a gunman opened fire at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in Dallas, Texas. At the time of the incident, Geoffrey Keaton and his 16-year-old daughter were having lunch at a Fatburger restaurant in the mall.
Keaton and his daughter were among the people who survived what has been described as this year’s second-deadliest mass shooting in the United States. In an interview with The New York Times, Keaton recalled what transpired after they heard gunshots and how he shielded his daughter.
“I immediately knew,” he recalled. “I got my baby girl under the counter to shield her, and then they got louder, like he was right there.”
Keaton said the manager at the restaurant allowed customers to seek refuge at the back of the facility, adding that they were eventually able to dash to their cars after they made their way out through a rear door.
“You could see bodies of people he had shot on the sidewalk,” Keaton recalled. The Gun Violence Archive, which records shootings in the United States, reported that number of mass shootings in the country this year currently stands at 199. The platform describes mass shootings as incidents where at least four people are shot.
The deadliest mass shooting in the United States this year was the January 21 shooting at Monterey Park in California. In that incident, eleven people were killed after a gunman opened fire in a ballroom.
Responding to Saturday’s incident in a statement, Kris Brown, the president of the gun violence prevention organization, Brady, highlighted the recent shooting incidents that have recently happened in the country.
“A house, a doctors’ office, and now a mall,” Brown said. “These horrific tragedies are occurring with increasing regularity and it’s clear there’s no place in this country where Americans are safe from gun violence. But this will continue to be our reality unless and until the U.S. changes its relationship with guns and our lawmakers finally answer to the American people, not the gun lobby.”
The gunman in Saturday’s fatal mass shooting was identified as Mauricio Garcia. Authorities said the 33-year-old gunman was fatally shot by a police officer who had gone to the mall for a different assignment at the time of the shooting, per The New York Times.
Authorities also said the deceased gunman may have had White supremacist or neo-Nazi motivations.