- The shooting happened in Allen, a small suburb Dallas, at an outdoor outlet mall
- At least one of those slain, Steven Spainhouer recalled, was a child, whom he desperately tried to rescue after rushing to the H&M where his son was working
- Shoppers were seen fleeing stores in footage seen circulating on social media, with the gunman now dead thanks to a local officer who was also at the mall
A man who witnessed the outlet mall shooting firsthand Saturday recalled being one of the first people on the scene - rushing to rescue his son from a clothing store where the now-deceased gunman's attack started. The shooting happened at the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, a small suburb north of Dallas, and saw at least eight people killed. At least one of those slain, Steven Spainhouer recalled, was a child, whom he desperately tried to save after rushing to the H&M - where his own son had been working.
Shortly before, around 3:30pm Spainhouer received a frantic call from his son notifying him that there had been shots fired outside the shop, with his relative still trapped inside.
Footage shows the moment those first shots rang out, in which the unidentified gunman is seen pulling up the store, which moments later would be littered with multiple bloodied bodies - seen in images currently circulating.
Driving over with the intent to save his child's life, Spainhouer explained how he got there before any first responders - and was faced with the monumental task of trying to save lives.
Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey described how the shooter was killed. "One of our officers was on an unrelated call at the outlet mall," said Harvey. "He heard gunshots, went to the gunshots, engaged the suspect, and neutralized the suspect."
Witnesses told CNN that they saw the gunman who was dressed all in black, and was wearing tactical gear.
In a photo obtained by CNN, the body of what appears to be the gunman is seen on the ground outside a restaurant location at the mall. The gunman, with an AR-15 style weapon nearby, appears to be wearing body armor with several extra magazines attached to chest gear.
Police believe they have identified the vehicle of the deceased suspect, which was being examined by the bomb squad as a precaution, the source says.
The mass shooting in Allen is the latest in a relentless series of gun violence across the nation that has brought terror to supermarkets, schools, hospitals and other places typically considered safe. It comes just days after a gunman became enraged during a visit to an Atlanta medical facility, allegedly shooting dead at least one person with a handgun and injuring four others before he was caught hours later.
The attack is one of at least 199 mass shootings this year in the US with four or more people shot, excluding a gunman, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Gov. Greg Abbott called the attack an "unspeakable tragedy," saying in a statement that "our hearts are with the people of Allen, Texas."
The City of Allen tweeted: "Our hearts are with the individuals and families impacted by this tragic event."
Rep. Keith Self, a Republican whose congressional district includes Allen, said the shooting could have been worse if not for the quick response by law enforcement to the gunfire.
"We will never know how many lives were saved by the swift actions of our first responders," Self said during a news conference Saturday night.
Shoppers and employees scrambled into storage areas and hid when they heard gunshots, they told CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera. Witnesses said some people sheltered in place for up to two hours as law enforcement cleared the sprawling complex.
One witness said that he saw a man holding his neck, and "blood (was) just dripping down."
Jaynal Pervez told CNN affiliate KTVT that he arrived at the mall after his daughter, who was inside, called to inform him about a shooting.
"We saw the police outside the door, and they told us we had to go, and that they are still looking for the person," Pervez said. "There's no more safe places. I don't know what to do."
Tony Wright, a resident whose home backs up to the Allen Premium Outlets, said his family thought they heard construction before they realized it was gunshots.
Wright said he was driving away from his house at the time and didn't hear the gunshots himself, but his family called him moments later, "freaking out," and saying they heard gunfire.
Initially, however, it wasn't clear.
"Everyone thought it was hammering," he said of the noise of gunfire that sounded like construction.
But he said once they saw people fleeing the outlet mall, the family locked the doors and hunkered down.