allen mall shooting

FBI, Allen Police Organize Family Assistance Center for Those Impacted By Mass Shooting

“I just keep replaying everything through my head,” witness recalls

NBC Universal, Inc.

Residents in the city of Allen are still trying to process the mass shooting that took place over the weekend.

Eight people were killed when a man opened fire on shoppers outside the Allen Premium Outlets on Saturday.

Those who witnessed the shooting are starting another week at work but finding it hard to return to normal life.

“I just keep replaying everything through my head,” said Cameron Moore, who was shopping at the outlets with his mother and girlfriend on Saturday afternoon.

The group was just yards away from the shooter when he opened fire on the crowd of shoppers.

“He was trying to do some damage and if it weren't for the hero that stopped him – it would have been quite a bit worse,” Moore said. “I mean, I was even thinking it was like fish in a barrel. There were so many people out enjoying the day with their families.”

Moore said they had just made the split second decision to walk away from the H&M they were just shopping at and instead get a bite to eat at a cookie shop around the corner.

“If we would have made one decision differently, we could have been out in front of that store and we could have been one of the victims,” he said. “We had literally just walked out the store that he started at.”

After hearing the rapid gunfire and realizing a mass shooting was actively underway, Moore said they took shelter inside the cookie store with others, using a cookie rack and anything they could find to barricade themselves in a back closet area.

“Whatever the cause is, I'm sick of the effect. I'm sick of seeing some radical guy jump out there and try to end lives that he doesn't know. I mean, there were kids there,” said Moore. “His drive was to cause chaos and harm on innocent people and that's something I'm sick of seeing, you know. That's radical and that's ridiculous.”

Meantime, emotions are raw at a makeshift memorial for the eight people who lost their lives.

Namrata Sharma stopped by the memorial to pay her respects to 26-year-old Aishwarya Thatikonda of McKinney, who worked as an engineer.

"She was part of the Indian American community. We’re fairly tight-knit community, and it’s just unfortunate that somebody who had such a bright future and I’m sure others did too, was cut short,” she said. “I’m so sorry to all the families, this was completely avoidable. These people were here just shopping."

Sharma expressed frustration over another mass shooting claiming innocent, with seemingly no end or solution in sight.

“I feel like we as a people have failed each other. Especially in this state. It’s a daily and weekly occurrence. Nothing happens,” she said. “This is a solvable problem. Let’s do something. God only helps those who help themselves.”

The confusion and pain felt across the community is why the FBI Dallas Field Office and Allen Police Department have established a Family Assistance Center to help those directly affected by the May 6th shooting. The center is offering crisis assistance, mental health services, spiritual care and more.

The American Red Cross and Salvation Army of North Texas are also on-site to help families.

“This devastating loss of life in our community is incomprehensible and it's in times like these that we rely on our faith for comfort. The Salvation Army of North Texas is committed to offering our hands, love, and prayers as a demonstration of support," said Majors Paul and Dawn McFarland, Area Commanders of The Salvation Army of North Texas. "Our emergency mobile canteen, officers, and staff are onsite at the Allen Premium Outlets to provide spiritual and emotional care to all those in the community impacted by this unspeakable event. If you need help, we are here.”

The Family Assistance Center will be open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is located at 451 St. Mary Drive. It may stay open longer depending on need.

Property abandoned inside retail stores or restaurants will be collected by individual store managers and distributed back to owners according to each store’s Lost and Found policy. People are being told to contact the store where items were abandoned to coordinate a time for pickup. View the Allen Premium Outlets directory for store contact information.

Property abandoned in open areas such as parking lots, sidewalks, outdoor seating areas or other community spaces will be available for pickup at the Family Assistance Center located at the Allen Senior Recreation Center.

Shoppers who were forced to leave their cars behind were also allowed to return Monday and retrieve their vehicles during a four-hour window. People were shuttled to the mall from a meeting point at a nearby park.

Those who have not yet recovered their vehicles can do so at the north entrance between Skechers and Champs Sports.

The outlet mall is closed indefinitely and officials have not said when it will reopen to the public. Only store managers are allowed back into businesses at this time.

Moore's family was able to get their car back but he’s still trying to process the shock of what happened.

“I'm trying to process in a healthy way and allow myself time to grieve and get the images out of my head of the people that I saw that had lost their lives," he said.

Moore says his family is afraid to go back in public now. It’s a collective trauma that he’s unsure how to heal from – but he adds that talking about it with his loved ones is a crucial part of the healing process.

“I saw a lot of people who don't know each other working together, consoling each other, hugging each other. I actually heard a lady on the phone crying saying, ‘I know it's been a while since I've seen you, but I miss you. I want to see you tonight,’” he recalls. “Whatever that is – positivity does come out of the most heinous things that happen. And so I think I'll try to focus on the good.”

With the outpouring of support for the victims of the mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets, GoFundMe has launched a centralized hub for all verified fundraisers related to the shooting. The online fundraising platform said it was working around the clock to make sure that all funds donated go directly to survivors or the families of victims.

Contact Us