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El Paso shooting: ‘Multiple fatalities’ in Texas mall attack

UPDATE:  Twenty killed in El Paso gun attack – Twenty people have been killed and another 24 injured in a mass shooting in the city of El Paso, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has confirmed.

From BBC

A shooting at a Texas shopping mall has ended in “multiple fatalities”, local officials say.

The shooting happened at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, just a few miles from the US-Mexico border.

At least 22 people, including young children, are being treated at local hospitals following the attack.

A white man in his 20s is in custody and he is believed to be the sole shooter, a police spokesman said. He was unable to provide casualty figures.

“We don’t want to do anything prematurely until we have accurate facts for you,” Sergeant Robert Gomez said.

The first reports of a shooting emerged at about 11:00 local time (18:00 GMT).

There were reports of gunfire in several locations – in both the Cielo Vista mall and the nearby Walmart, police said – but reports of further gunshots at another nearby mall, Bassett, were not true.

Kendall Long (L) comforts Kianna Long (R)
Image captionKianna Long, right, was in the freezer section of the Walmart during the shooting

“Initial reports of the weapon was a rifle – I can’t confirm that yet,” Sgt Gomez said.

He could not confirm any details about the suspect, except that he was a young white male. No officers had fired their weapons in apprehending him, he said.

CCTV images said to be of the gunman and circulated on US media show a young white man in a dark T-shirt, wearing ear protectors and brandishing an assault-style rifle.

A man who was in the shopping centre at the time of the attack recalled the moment that he found out about the shooting.

“They were employees, they were coming in, and they would tell me that they heard some gunshots and that people just started bolting straight into the store in order to get to cover. In the meantime I was just trying to stay calm, but I was freaking out internally,” he told CBS News.

Another witness, Glendon Oakly, told CNN that he was in a sporting goods store inside the shopping centre when a child ran inside “telling us there’s an active shooter at Walmart”.

Mr Oakly said no-one took the child’s report seriously, but just minutes later he heard two gunshots.

“I just thought about getting the kids out of the way,” he said.

Police said they no longer believed there was any immediate threat to the public, but were continuing searches. A family reunification area had been set up nearby for those searching for loved ones.

El Paso Police Department tweeted that blood donations were “needed urgently”.

What reaction has there been?

“This is a tragedy that we never, ever would have thought would happen in El Paso,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told CNN. “It tears me up.”

US President Donald Trump said the reports coming from the area were “very bad, many killed”.

In a statement, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said El Paso had been “struck by a heinous and senseless act of violence”.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific shooting and to the entire community in this time of loss,” the governor said.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has abandoned a campaign event in Las Vegas to return to his hometown of El Paso.

Earlier, he spoke at a labour forum, telling the crowd the shooting shattered any illusion that gun reform will “come of its own accord” in the US.

“We know that there’s a lot of injury, a lot of suffering in El Paso right now,” he said.

A map shows the location of the shooting

Other Democratic presidential candidates also responded to the shooting with calls for gun control.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker was among them, saying the US seems to be “accepting the idea that these [shootings] are going to be a regular occurrence”.

Walmart, which has a store on the site of the Cielo Vista Mall, said it was “in shock over the tragic events” and was “working closely with law enforcement”.

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