Eight people were killed and seven injured when a gunman opened fire Saturday afternoon at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in North Texas.
Authorities said an officer was who at the mall on an unrelated call killed the suspect, 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, of Dallas.
All eight of the victims who died have been publicly identified:
Daniela Mendoza and Sofia Mendoza
The sisters attended Cox Elementary School in the Wylie school district, according to a statement from the district. Daniela Mendoza was in fourth grade, and Sofia Mendoza was in second grade. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the children were 11 and 8.
The school district said the girls’ mother, Ilda, was in critical condition at a hospital.
CBS News reported that the children’s principal, Krista Wilson, described the girls as “rays of sunshine.”
“Words cannot express the sadness we feel as we grieve the loss of our students,” read a letter sent to school parents. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mendoza family, the families of the victims, and all those affected by this senseless tragedy.”
A verified GoFundMe account has been started for the Mendoza sisters’ family.
“With a heavy heart, we share that our beautiful Daniel and Sofia have passed away,” the girls’ aunt wrote on the GoFundMe page. “They were tragically taken from us by a senseless act on May 6th, 2023. Their mom is currently still hospitalized. We want to thank everyone that has been reaching out and offering their support and assistance. Please pray for our now broken family. The girls have left a void that nothing in the world could ever fill. Please pray for their mom, my sister, and her broken heart. Please also pray for their dad, that despite all the trauma he has had to endure, is still unbelievably strong. They will be forever missed and loved.”
Kyu Song Cho, Cindy Cho and James Cho
Three members of a Korean-American family were among the dead, the Yonhap News Agency reported. A couple and their 3-year-old son were killed. Another of the couple’s children, identified as 6-year-old William Cho in a GoFundMe raising money for their family, was also shot. William was released from a children’s hospital on Thursday.
In a statement released by the hospital Wednesday, William’s family said, “Our hearts are broken for our beloved family members who are no longer with us. We are deeply grateful and sincerely appreciate the outpouring of support and prayers.”
William is recovering well, the family said.
“All of our attention is now focused on ensuring William leads a happy, healthy life with his extended family who love him dearly,” their statement said.
The parents were Kyu Song Cho, 37, and Cindy Cho, 35, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The GoFundMe identifies the 3-year-old as James Cho.
William Cho celebrated his birthday four days before the shooting.
“An afternoon that should have been filled with light, love and celebration unfortunately was cut short by another mass shooting massacre that left 8 victims dead,” the GoFundMe organizer wrote in the fundraiser’s description. “Cindy, Kyu and 3-year-old James were among those victims that tragically lost their lives and the family is in deep mourning.”
William attends Prestonwood Christian Academy. James was in preschool and loved elephants, his teacher Trinity Whitley told WFAA-TV.
“He was sweet and smart, and he was so cute,” Whitley said. “And he was brilliant child. I’ve never actually met a 3-year-old that was that smart. He was three and he was writing his own name.”
Their mom, also known as Cindy Kang, was a dentist in McKinney.
“Dr. Kang was the sweetest, most beautiful soul with the kindest heart,” her office, Thrive Dental and Orthodontics, said in an Instagram post. “She was an outstanding dentist, mother, wife, daughter, friend, and faithful woman of God.”
Kyu Cho was a managing partner at the law firm Porter Legal Group, the AP reported. “He was loved and respected,” the firm said.
Funeral services for Kyu, Cindy and James will be held Thursday evening at New Song Church in Carrollton. The family will be laid to rest Friday in Coppell.
Christian LaCour, a 20-year-old security guard from Farmersville, died as he worked at the mall, his sister Brianna Smith told ABC. Texas DPS said LeCour was able to evacuate one person from the mall, then was shot and killed when he went back in to try to get more people out.
“He was a really sweet kid. I’m sad that he’s gone,” Brianna Smith told ABC in a phone interview.
“Words cannot even begin to describe the devastation that our family feels,” one relative of LaCour wrote on Facebook. “There will forever be a void.”
LaCour’s grandmother also wrote a tribute on Facebook, saying that Christian was “a beautiful soul, 20 years old with goals for his future. I was so proud of him and so glad I got to see him 2 weeks ago.”
A public celebration of life service for LaCour will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen.
Aishwarya Thatikonda, an engineer who lived in McKinney, was among the victims who died, according to DPS.
Thatikonda, 26, was at the mall shopping for a dress for her upcoming birthday with a friend who was injured in the shooting.
On Tuesday morning, Thatikonda’s body was sent on a plane to her family in Hyderabad, India, WFAA reported.
“The whole country and our community is all grieving,” Ashok Kolla with the Telugu Association of North America told WFAA. Thatikonda was part of the Telugu community and members were at DFW Airport to send her body to India to be buried.
Thatikonda worked at the Dallas-area firm Perfect General Contractors.
“She came to the United States with a dream to make a career, build a family, own a home and live forever in Dallas,” company founder Srinivas Chaluvadi told the AP in an email.
Elio Cumana Rivas, 32, lived in Dallas.
Telemundo spoke to Cumana-Rivas’ father, who teaches at a university in Venezuela. The father said his son was out with friends at the mall when they split up to go their separate ways after they finished shopping.
His brother Gregory Smith Cumana told WFAA in Spanish that Elio “always smiled, he always lived with a positive word.”
“My special little brother, the best thing that God could give us, was the fifth of six siblings,” he said. “Only 32 years old, he went in search of the American dream to help his family.”
How to help
On GoFundMe, the Allen, TX Shooting Victims’ Fund was created by VictimsFirst to guarantee the families of victims and those wounded will receive 100% of the funds raised. VictimsFirst will work with local victim advocates to distribute these funds.
Communities Foundation of Texas has established the Support for Allen Fund “to collect funds that provide support for those who have been impacted by this senseless tragedy.” Gifts to CFT’s Support for Allen Fund will be directed to local nonprofit agencies that are providing much-needed resources and services, according to a release. This includes agencies providing mental health, grief, and trauma support for the victims and their families, as well as first responders who may also have been impacted. This fund will not provide direct payments to individuals.
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