Army Expelled Texas Mall Shooter Over Mental Health

Gunman was 18 at the time, officials said he had an adjustment disorder
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2023 12:13 AM CDT
Updated May 10, 2023 6:10 AM CDT
Texas Mall Shooter Targeted Mall, Had 8 Firearms
Visitors to a make shift memorial leave flowers in front of a large cross that has the words "Hope, Love, Allen", engraved into it at the mall where several people were killed, Monday, May 8, 2023, in Allen, Texas.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The gunman who killed eight people and wounded seven others in a shooting at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, had targeted the shopping center and was carrying three firearms on him when he was killed by a police officer, authorities said Tuesday. He had another five guns in his car. Authorities said he held "neo-Nazi ideation," but that he did not target anyone specifically during the massacre: "He just shot people," a Texas Department of Public Safety official said, per CBS News. Prior to the shooting, however, he had posted on social media about "the noble war," a reference to a race war white supremacists believe is coming, and had specifically spewed racist rhetoric targeting Asians, the Washington Post reports. He disparaged other racial minorities, women, and Jews as well.

In 2008, when the shooter was 18, he entered basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, but Army officials expelled him within three months, before he had made it to rifle training, NBC News reports. Officials were concerned about his mental health, including his ability to cope with stressful changes, and said he had an adjustment disorder. As NBC explains, such disorders are common among active duty members of the military and involve significant emotional distress. The shooter had no known criminal history and, authorities said, was "not on the radar of police at all" prior to the massacre. His posts, including ones appearing to monitor the mall during busy times, were made on a Russian social media site, but did not have any "likes" or shares from other users.

As for the eight guns, they were purchased legally, and DPS officials ended Tuesday's news conference moments after an exchange between an official and reporters over the question of how such mass shootings can be prevented, given the guns in this case were purchased legally by someone who had been expelled from the military over mental health concerns. "Even if he couldn’t have purchased these firearms legally, he probably could have obtained them illegally or used some other vehicle—literally, a vehicle—to perpetrate something similar," said an official before ending the conference. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott abruptly cut off a livestream of an unrelated Monday news conference after someone asked about the shooting. (More Texas mass shooting stories.)

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