By JAKE BLEIBERG
ALLEN, Texas (AP) — Multiple people were shot at an outlet mall in the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas, on Saturday, sending hundreds of shoppers fleeing in panic in the latest gun violence to strike the country.
Calls about shots being fired came in about 3:40 p.m. from the Allen Premium Outlets. A dispatcher with Allen police confirmed the department was investigating a shooting but couldn’t say more.
WFAA-TV reported that police on the scene said there were multiple victims, including children.
Rep. Keith Self, who represents the area that includes the mall, said he had confirmed with law enforcement that the shooter is dead, and that there was no one else involved in the attack.
Their conditions were not immediately known, but WFAA reported that the Collin County Sheriff said the shooter is dead.
A crowd of hundreds of people who had been shopping stood outside, across the street from the mall, Saturday evening. Officers circulated among them asking if anyone had seen what happened.
Fontayne Payton, 35, was at H&M when he heard the sound of gunshots through the headphones he was wearing.
“It was so loud, it sounded like it was right outside,” Payton said.
People in the store scattered before employees ushered the group into the fitting rooms and then a lockable back room, he said. When they were given the all-clear to leave, Payton saw the store had broken windows and a trail of blood to the door. Discarded sandals and bloodied clothes were laying nearby.
Once outside, Payton saw bodies.
“I pray it wasn’t kids, but it looked like kids,” he said. The bodies were covered in white towels, slumped over bags on the ground, he said.
“It broke me when I walked out to see that,” he said.
Further away, he saw the body of a heavyset man wearing all black. He assumed it was the shooter, Payton said, because unlike the other bodies it had not been covered up.
Stan and Mary Ann Greene were browsing in the Columbia sportswear store when the shooting started.
“We had just gotten in, just a couple minutes earlier, and we just heard a lot of loud popping,” Mary Ann Greene told The Associated Press. “I said, ‘Was that gunfire?’ ”
Employees immediately rolled down the security gate and brought everyone to the rear of the store until police arrived and escorted them out, the Greenes said.
Eber Romero was at the Under Armour store when a cashier mentioned that there was a shooting.
As he left the store, Romero said, the mall appeared empty, and all the shops had their security gates down. That is when he started seeing broken glass and people who had been shot on the floor.
Video shared on social media showed people running through a parking lot while gunfire could be heard.
More than 30 police cruisers with lights flashing were blocking an entrance to the mall, with multiple ambulances on the scene.
A live aerial broadcast from the news station showed armored trucks and other law enforcement vehicles stationed outside the sprawling outdoor mall.
Ambulances from several neighboring cities responded to the scene.
The Dallas office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded.
Allen, a suburb about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of downtown Dallas, has roughly 105,000 residents.
Associated Press writers Adam Kealoha Causey in Dallas and Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.