Allen: Shoppers flee in panic as gunman kills eight in Texas mall mass shooting

The sound of gunfire sent shoppers fleeing as a gunman rampaged through a mall in the Dallas area of Texas before he was shot by police, ITV News reports

A gunman has killed eight people and wounded seven others in a mass shooting at a Texas mall that sent hundreds of shoppers fleeing in panic.

Witnesses at the mall described the sounds of gunshot and a virtual stampede of shoppers, as workers and customers hid in shops.

A police officer who happened to be nearby shot the gunman dead following the shooting at a Dallas-area mall on Saturday, authorities said.

Police did not immediately provide details about the victims, but witnesses reported seeing children among them.

Three of the injured were said to be critically injured in the shooting at the mall in the town of Allen, which is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of downtown Dallas and has a population of roughly 105,000.

Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd said seven people including the shooter died at the scene. Nine victims were taken to area hospitals, but two died.

An Allen Police officer was in the area on an unrelated call when he heard shots at 3.36pm Saturday, the police department wrote on Facebook.

“The officer engaged the suspect and neutralised the threat. He then called for emergency personnel,” it added.

People gather across the street from the shopping centre as police respond to the shooting.

'We heard a lot of loud popping'

Some witnesses at the mall said they also saw what appeared to be children, a police officer and a mall security guard injured or unconscious on the ground.

A 16-year-old pretzel stand employee, Maxwell Gum, described a 'stampede' of shoppers before he and others sheltered in a storage room.

“We started running. Kids were getting trampled," Maxwell said. "My co-worker picked up a four-year-old girl and gave her to her parents.”

Fontayne Payton, 35, was at H&M when he heard the sound of gunshots through his headphones.

“It was so loud, it sounded like it was right outside,” Payton said.

People in the store scattered before employees ushered the group into the fitting rooms and then a lockable back room, he said.

When they were given the all-clear to leave, Payton saw the store had broken windows and a trail of blood to the door. Discarded sandals and bloodied clothes lay nearby.

A law enforcement officer runs as people are evacuated from the mall. Credit: AP

Once outside, Payton saw bodies.

“I pray it wasn’t kids, but it looked like kids,” he said. The bodies were covered in white towels, slumped over bags on the ground.

“It broke me when I walked out to see that,” he said.

Further away, he saw the body of a heavyset man wearing all black. He assumed it was the shooter, Payton said, because unlike the other bodies it had not been covered up.

Tarakram Nunna, 25, and Ramakrishna Mullapudi, 26, said they saw what appeared to be three people motionless on the ground, including one who appeared to be a police officer and one who appeared to be a mall security guard.

Another shopper, Sharkie Mouli, 24, said he hid in a Banana Republic shop during the shooting.

As he left, he saw what appeared to be an unconscious police officer lying next to another unconscious person outside the outlet store.

“I have seen his gun lying right next to him and a guy who is like passing out right next to him,” Mouli said.

Stan and Mary Ann Greene were browsing in the Columbia sportswear store when the shooting started.

“We had just gotten in, just a couple minutes earlier, and we just heard a lot of loud popping,” Mary Ann Greene said.

Employees rolled down the security gate and brought everyone to the rear of the store until police arrived and escorted them out, the Greenes said.

A mass shooting epidemic

The shooting was the latest episode of gun violence to strike the United States.

Mass killings are happening with staggering frequency this year, at an average of about one a week, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.

The White House said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting and the administration had offered support to local officials.

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has signed laws easing firearms restrictions following past mass shootings, called it an “unspeakable tragedy.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.