In the days following the Allen Mall shooting, law enforcement released little information about the gunman, his weapons, or motives. Most of the details come from leaks, which critics say have created an information vacuum for the spread of confusion and misinformation.
On Monday, local lawmakers acknowledged the lack of public information in House and Senate speeches. Attorney General Ken Paxton said law enforcement agencies were moving cautiously after information released in the immediate aftermath of the 2022 Uvalde school shooting proved wrong.
“I would ask you to pray for patience as people deal with the continued release of information,” said Angela Paxton, wife of the attorney general and state senator representing Collin County, of the unanswered questions.
On Monday evening, the Texas Department of Public Safety said officials would hold a press conference on Tuesday.
Crime in the news
The most detailed information about Allen’s shooting to date has appeared in media reports attributed to unnamed law enforcement officials or federal documents that have not been made public. Without a single state official as the public face of the investigation, some conservative social media influencers are questioning the legitimacy of some of the information circulating in the public sphere, particularly reports that the gunman espoused supremacist beliefs white.
Law enforcement officials say 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia opened fire on the Allen Premium Outlets Saturday afternoon, killing eight people and wounding at least seven others. After local officials hosted two press conferences soon after, authorities have not informed the public since.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which took over the investigation from local police, confirmed the gunman’s name, age and city of residence on Sunday. On Monday, the state agency released a list of the victims, ranging in age from 3 to 37 years. Authorities have not confirmed a possible motive or the weapons used.
At a press conference in Austin Monday focused on border security, Governor Greg Abbott told reporters he understands the community wants to know what happened and why.
“Investigators were unable to provide details at the time,” Abbott said. “I believe that in the coming days the public will be much better informed about why and how this happened. And that will inform us as leaders of Texas about the next steps to take to try and prevent crimes like this from happening in the future.
The Department of Public Safety did not respond to a request for comment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which are jointly conducting the investigation with the DPS, also did not host news conferences.
On Monday, Attorney General Ken Paxton told conservative talk show host Glenn Beck that law enforcement agencies did not want to release unconfirmed details. Paxton said he was at a briefing with state and federal agents on Sunday.
“They don’t feel comfortable releasing information right now because they still feel like they don’t know enough,” Paxton told Beck in an interview.
“I think what happened in Uvalde – where inaccurate information has come out that has been provided by law enforcement – I think these days they’re very careful not to say anything until they absolutely know it’s true,” he said. said.
Law enforcement officials made several mistakes in the days following the Uvalde shooting, providing information that proved inaccurate about the officers’ initial response and ease of access to the building. They later corrected those errors, sometimes after they were revealed in the media.
Citing unnamed law enforcement officials, several national news outlets reported this weekend that Allen’s killer may have held white supremacist beliefs. Rolling stone he referred to an internal FBI bulletin in his report.
Paxton told Beck the details didn’t come out in his briefing: “I’m not saying it’s not true. But no one in the briefing brought any details.
Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who has been a leader in promoting gun restrictions this session and a vocal critic of the DPS response to Uvalde, said the lack of information is standard operating procedure from the Abbott administration.
“Yet another tragedy that happened over the weekend and again we know very little about it because DPS hasn’t told us anything about it,” Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, said at a news conference with the Uvalde families on Monday. “Since Uvalde, we’ve seen mass shootings across the nation and the cops have come out and told you who’s dead. They tell you who the killer was. They tell you what the motivation was. And they do it all within 24 hours.
Austin office reporters Aaron Torres and Philip Jankowski and writer Susan McFarland contributed to this report.