Texas shooter wore SS-themed patch on vest, praised Nazis on social media
An April 21, 2023 post to the Texas shooter’s OK account shows a patch with the acronym RWDS — shorthand for Right Wing Death Squad, styled from Waffen SS division insignias (Via Bellingcat’s Aric Toler — @AricToler on Twitter)
(Reuters) -The man Texas authorities say killed eight people in a barrage of gunfire at a Dallas-area shopping mall over the weekend left behind a social media profile filled with white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideology, multiple news outlets reported on Monday.
News reports linking the assailant to language praising Hitler and to diatribes vilifying racial minorities and women emerged as state police named the five adults murdered on Saturday and confirmed that three children also died - two girls, aged 11 and 8, and a 3-year-old boy.
Among the adults who lost their lives, police said, were Kyo Song Cho, 37, and his wife, Cindy Cho, 35, of Dallas. According to local media, they were the parents of the slain 3-year-old and of a 6-year-old son who was wounded and left as the lone surviving member of his immediate family.
The two girls who died, both from Sachse, Texas, were sisters, local media reported.
The deceased also included two other men, Christian LeCour, 23, of Nevada, Texas, and Elio Cumana-Rivas, 32, of Dallas, and a woman, Aishwarya Thatikonda, 26, of McKinney, Texas, police said.
A further 10 people, ranging in age from 5 to 61, were injured in the mass shooting, at least three of them critically.
Authorities have offered no word about a possible motive for Saturday's carnage at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where the gunman, identified as Mauricio Garcia, 33, opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle.
Police said the attacker, a Dallas resident, was shot dead by police arriving at the scene.
PRAISE FOR HITLER AND 'RWDS' PATCH
Investigators combing social media accounts linked to the gunman found hate-filled posts targeting racial and ethnic minorities, NBC News reported, citing two law enforcement officials.
At the time of the shooting, Garcia also wore a patch bearing an "RWDS" insignia, a symbol associated with violent right-wing extremists, including the Proud Boys, according to news media organizations. RWDS is an acronym known to stand for "Right Wing Death Squad."
The New York Times, citing its own law enforcement sources, reported Garcia was believed to have posted a number of messages on a Russian social media platform praising Hitler, sympathizing with neo-Nazi beliefs and disparaging women.
The author behind some of the posts under investigation repeatedly suggested he was of Hispanic heritage and as recently as last month included a post saying that "white people and Hispanics have a lot in common."
Reuters could not independently confirm the reports.
The Allen Police Department, Collin County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reports.
The massacre is among the latest in at least 202 mass shootings recorded in the United States this year, according to the nonprofit group Gun Violence Archive. The group defines a mass shooting as any in which four or more people are wounded or killed, not including the shooter.
In a statement on Sunday, U.S. President Biden renewed calls for the Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as to enact universal background checks and end immunity for gun manufacturers.
In a surprise move, a committee of the state House of Representatives on Monday approved legislation to raise the minimum legal age for purchasing certain semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 in Texas.
The measure was sponsored by Democratic lawmaker Tracy King, whose district includes the city of Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting nearly a year ago. But it is unlikely to pass the Republican-dominated legislature and is opposed by Governor Greg Abbott.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Lincoln Feast.)