At least one person was killed and three others were injured after a shooting at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas. Local authorities reported that two suspects were arrested following the attack.
Police are responding to shots fired in the food court of Cielo Vista Mall, scene still active. Avoid the area.
— EL PASO POLICE DEPT (@EPPOLICE) February 16, 2023
The shooting occurred Wednesday afternoon. According to the acting chief of the El Paso Police Department, Peter Pacillas, two gunmen burst into the food court and a department store inside the mall. He also revealed that all of the wounded, two of them in serious condition, and the suspects arrested are men . It is still unknown whether the shooting was gang-related or was carried out by "two people" for a particular reason.
Police Sergeant Javier Zambrano indicated that one of the arrests was made in a matter of minutes. An off-duty officer was working security for a store, which facilitated the capture of one of the suspects:
That officer was able to take a person into custody minutes after the events began to occur.
The area is still part of an ongoing investigation, so vehicles inside the mall parking lot will not be able to leave for hours.
A reunification center and a website for submitting complaints
Police said that family members of those affected and people who wanted to help could go to the nearby Burges High School gymnasium, where a reunification center was set up.
We appreciate all the support our community shows our first responders and the people that were at Cielovista Mall.
However, we kindly ask to refrain from bringing donations to Cielovista Mall or Burges HS as the area needs to be cleared of as much traffic as possible. pic.twitter.com/y7gT76A0wv
— El Paso Office of Emergency Management (@ElPasoOEM) February 16, 2023
Jeff Downey, FBI agent in charge in El Paso, also asked for the community's support in providing videos or photographs of the shooting: "It's important, since this is an ongoing investigation, that we get that information as soon as possible.
Individuals can submit information anonymously through this website.
Another shooting in 2019 and Gov. Abbott's response
The Cielo Vista shopping center is located next to the Walmart where another shooting in 2019 claimed the lives of 23 people and left two dozen injured.
State Governor Greg Abbott spoke out about the event and thanked law enforcement. He also mentioned that he had spoken with Oscar Leeser, mayor of El Paso:
I spoke to Mayor Leeser about the shooting tonight in El Paso. l offered the full support of the State of Texas, including the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Division of Emergency Management to help the city of El Paso respond to this tragic event.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 16, 2023