Texas mall shooting suspect may have scouted the location weeks prior

The suspect was identified as Mauricio Garcia, law enforcement sources said.

Eight people were killed and seven others injured after a gunman opened fire at the Allen Premium Outlets, an outdoor mall north of Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, officials said.

The suspect was identified as Mauricio Garcia, according to law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation.

Garcia, 33, was fatally shot by a police officer who rushed to the gunfire and confronted him, police said.

Investigators are reviewing this picture that's believed to show Allen shooting suspect Mauricio Garcia from the social profile it's believed he operated.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, which is leading the investigation, was searching Mauricio's home and vehicle on Sunday. The agency declined to comment further on Garcia and said the motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

The suspect left a trail of social media activity revealing he may have scouted the location weeks prior to the deadly shooting. A profile appearing to belong to Garcia also contained numerous references to Nazi ideology, hatred of women, racism and antisemitism.

Investigators are reviewing the profile, according to sources briefed on the probe. Preliminary analysis suggests the profile is connected to the shooter; the investigation is continuing, according to officials.

Other details, reviewed by ABC News, link the online profile to Garcia, including photos of the shooter, date of birth, receipts for gun sales and identification documents.

A law enforcement officer walks as people are evacuated from a shopping center where a shooting occurred, May 6, 2023, in Allen, Texas.
Lm Otero/AP

A series of photos uploaded to the account in April seem to indicate the gunman may have visited the outlet mall as far back as May 2022, and again in January.

The series included a dozen images from the mall parking lot and from the sidewalk around some of the shops. A screenshot of the most popular times for visiting the outlet mall was also uploaded in April, along with an image of boxes of opened ammunition. The peak hours suggested for visiting the mall were Saturdays between 3 and 6 p.m.

In other posts, photos showed what appeared to be Garcia's tattoos, including one of a swastika on his chest and a Nazi "SS" symbol on his arm.

Several posts contained images of weapons and ammunition he acquired through online websites, according to receipts containing the suspect's name. In June 2022, the gunman appeared to have ordered a Kalashnikov-style rifle and two handguns from an online gun store.

Images of numerous rifle magazines inside a tactical vest were uploaded to the profile in April. Another photo showed a patch on a tactical vest reading "RWDS," or "Right Wing Death Squad." A law enforcement source had previously told ABC News that Garcia was found wearing a "Right Wing Death Squad" patch.

Two videos posted to the account on Jan. 1 and Aug. 19, 2022, showed visits to a shooting range. In the more recent video, from January, a person appearing to be Garcia approaches and shoots a target at close range with an AR-15-style rifle similar to the one used in Saturday's shooting. As early as December 2021, a photo on the profile showed an AR-15-style rifle at a gun range along with the caption "testing out my toys."

The account showed images suggesting a YouTube account operated by Garcia had been taken down by the platform for violating its rules. Other posts contained favorable references to past mass shootings, including the March 27 shooting in Nashville.

Investigators probing if this was domestic terrorism, sources say

One avenue investigators are exploring is whether this was an act of domestic terrorism, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The shooter wore patches or stickers on his clothing that raised suspicion he may have gravitated toward right-wing extremism, the sources said, though they added no motive has yet been established.

Shoppers are evacuated from the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas, May 6, 2023.

Federal agents were seen at a home in the Dallas area believed to be associated with the shooter, ABC Dallas affiliate station WFAA reported.

Federal investigators are already going through the suspect's electronic devices and social media as they work to understand what led to the killing rampage, the sources said.

In addition to a rifle used in the shooting, sources said investigators recovered additional firearms in a vehicle associated with the shooter.

Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates the suspect was in the U.S. Army in 2008 and was "removed due to mental health concerns," law enforcement sources briefed on the probe told ABC News on Sunday.

In addition to the insignia on the shooter's equipment that suggested a right-wing extremist ideology, investigators have found social media accounts connected to the suspect that reveal hundreds of postings and images, including writings with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist rhetoric, including neo-Nazi material and material espousing the supremacy of the white race, the sources said.

None of the subject's postings analyzed to date were liked or shared by other users nor were there any public comments, according to the sources. The suspect's account did not contain any friends or associates that were publicly visible, the sources said.

Investigators have determined the suspect had no criminal history and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, according to the sources. The shooter was equipped with a ballistic vest, numerous magazines and additional handguns, the sources said.

The Texas Rangers are the lead agency on the case with assistance from Allen police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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