At least nine dead in shooting at mall in Allen, Texas, just north of Dallas

Seven others were hurt, three of whom are seriously injured. There were children among the victims.

A gunman caused panic Saturday afternoon at the Allen Premium Outlets in the city of Allen, just north of Dallas. He opened fire at the mall around 3:30 pm local time when it was full of customers for reasons that are still unknown. Texas authorities reported that nine people were killed, including the shooter and seven others were injured and taken to nearby hospitals. Of these, four are stable and the other three are in very critical condition. Allen Fire Department Chief Jonathan Boyd said seven people died at the scene and two others died from their injuries while being transported to medical facilities. The victims included children.

The shooting could have been worse had it not been for the fact that an on-duty officer was near the scene responding to another call unrelated to this shooting when he heard the gunshots at 3:36 pm. Police Chief Brian Harvey said in a news conference Saturday afternoon that the officer "confronted the suspect and neutralized the threat." A police source confirmed that the alleged shooter is dead and that he acted alone. Eyewitnesses claim to have heard thirty-some shots and found sixty rounds of ammunition on the ground. Nevertheless, several hours after the incident several photos went viral on social media of local police officers sweeping the area in search of possible accomplices.

Texas Governor Greg Abbot expressed his condolences to all the victims and their families in a statement reported by the media: "Our hearts go out to the people of Allen tonight during this unspeakable tragedy." A woman who was at the scene with her daughter explained what happened. "We were outside the Converse store and we heard all this popping. We kind of all just stopped and then a second later, just 'pop, pop, pop, pop, pop' and there were sparks flying like it was right in front of us." Photos have been shared on social media that show hundreds of customers leaving the outlet mall, many of them with their hands above their heads while being escorted out by the police.

Governor Abbot concluded his remarks by confirming that he is "in contact with Mayor Fulk and DPS Director McCraw, as well as with other state and local leaders. I offered the full support of the state of Texas to local officials to ensure that all assistance and resources are implemented quickly, including DPS officers, Texas Rangers and investigative resources."