EL PASO: One person was killed and three more were wounded Wednesday in a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, adding to the dozens of people already killed this year in mass shootings across the United States.
El Paso police said hours after the gunfire that two people had been taken into custody, though details of what led the shooting remained unclear.
Interim police chief Peter Pacillas said that Cielo Vista Mall was still considered a crime scene, and that it would remain locked down until authorities had completed their investigation.
Pacillas stressed that the danger had passed.
“There is no more danger. I want to repeat that: There is no more danger to the public,” Pacillas said.
The shooting happened in a busy shopping area and across a large parking lot from a Walmart where 23 people were killed in a racist attack targeting Hispanic people in 2019. El Paso — with a largely Latino population of about 700,000 people — sits on the U.S. border with Mexico, where residents of both countries cross frequently.
“Today’s shooting at the Cielo Vista Mall has brought back traumatic memories for many of us. Please know you are not alone,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, whose district includes El Paso, said on Twitter.
She urged anyone who needed it to reach out to the city’s crisis help line.
The United States has seen dozens of people killed in mass shootings so far in 2023, most recently Monday at Michigan State University, where three students were killed and five more were wounded. In January, 11 people were killed in the Los Angeles-area city of Monterey Park as they welcomed the Lunar New Year at a dance hall popular with older Asian Americans.
Pacillas said the two people taken into custody after Wednesday’s shooting as well as all of the victims were males.
University Medical Center in El Paso said in a statement that two gunshot victims being treated there were in critical condition.
The condition of the third victim was not immediately known.
Police earlier said the shooting was reported in the shopping mall’s food court.
Authorities set up a reunification center at a nearby high school, where those affected by the shooting could reconnect with loved ones.
The FBI, which is assisting El Paso police in the investigation, set up a website where the public can share photos or video from the shooting: www.fbi.gov/cielovistamallshooting.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said in a tweet Wednesday night that he had spoken to the mayor of El Paso and offered assistance from the Texas Department of Public and Safety and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
In 2022, more than 600 mass shootings occurred in the U.S. in which at least four people were killed or wounded, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
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