EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A shooting at a Texas mall that left one person dead and three others wounded began as a confrontation between two groups in the food court, police said Thursday.
The people involved in the fight Wednesday at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso ranged in age from late teens to their early 20s, interim El Paso police Chief Peter Pacillas said.
“This is a random incident that occurred between two groups at the mall,” Pacillas said.
The shooting added to the dozens of people already killed this year in mass shootings across the United States.
Two people were taken into custody after the shooting, police said. Pacillas, who said the fight didn’t appear to be gang-related, said they are still investigating. He said they were still trying to determine if the people in the two groups knew each other.
Two of the wounded were taken to University Medical Center of El Paso and remained in critical condition on Thursday, while a person taken to Del Sol Medical Center was in fair condition, the hospitals said.
Pacillas has said the two people taken into custody as well as all of the victims were males.
Pacillas said that during the fight, a person in one of the groups produced a handgun and shots were fired. He said they are still trying to determine “all the parties involved.” He said an off-duty officer working security for a store took one person into custody.
The shooting broke out 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.
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.
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.
In 2022, more than 600 mass shootings broke out in the U.S. in which at least four people were killed or wounded, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
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