EL PASO, Texas — Authorities in El Paso, Texas, said one person was killed and three other people were injured Wednesday after a shooting in a shopping mall, adding to the dozens of people already killed this year in mass shootings across the United States.
The El Paso Police Department said hours after the gunfire that two people had been taken into custody, though details of what led to the shooting remained unclear. Spokesperson Sgt. Robert Gomez confirmed that one person died in the shooting and three others were injured.
Interim police chief Peter Pacillas said that Cielo Vista Mall was still considered a crime scene and that it would remain locked down until authorities had completed their investigation. Pacillas stressed that the danger had passed.
“There is no more danger. I want to repeat that: There is no more danger to the public,” he said.
Pacillas also said the gunman was taken down quickly by an off-duty police officer who was working security at a store in the mall. He said the officer did not fire his weapon. The names and ages of the suspects were not released.
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Pacillas said the 911 center received calls about the shooting at 5:05 p.m. He said the off-duty officer responded by 5:08 p.m. and immediately took the suspect into custody.
“It was a dynamic scene and it was quickly brought under control,” he said, adding there was no more danger to the public after the two suspects were taken into custody.
Cellphone videos posted on social media showed customers running out of the mall into the parking lot as police rushed to the scene.
Gomez said the first calls came in at 5:10 p.m. about shots fired, and multiple law enforcement units responded.
The three wounded were transported to area hospitals, Gomez said.
“We have two patients, both in critical condition,” said University Medical Center of El Paso spokesman Ryan Mielke. According to Mielke, the two patients are males in critical condition.
The other victim was taken to Del Sol Medical Center and was in fair condition, a hospital official said.
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Cielo Vista Mall is next to the Walmart store where a gunman killed 23 people on Aug. 3, 2019. The Walmart shooter pleaded guilty last week to federal hate crime charges in the mass shooting targeting Latinos.
Olivia Troye, a former Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, said on Twitter that her aunt was “in hiding at Cielo Vista mall” as the active shooter scenario was unfolding.
“She survived the 2019 Wal-Mart El Paso shooting thanks to someone who pulled her to safety. What is it going to take to enact change?!” Troye wrote in a post just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
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.
In 2022, more than 600 mass shootings occurred in the U.S. in which at least four people were killed or wounded, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Contributing: Maria Cortes Gonzalez, Lauren Villagran, and Adam Powell, El Paso Times; The Associated Press