A gunman who killed eight people at a Texas mall last weekend appeared to have neo-Nazi beliefs but was targeting people indiscriminately, law enforcement officials said.
Police said the 33-year-old suspect appeared to have chosen his victims without regard to race or gender.
He was not in trouble with the law before Saturday’s attack in the city of Allen, police said.
Investigators check his social media.
The suspect, Dallas resident Mauricio Garcia, was shot dead by a police officer at the scene.
“We know he had neo-Nazi ideas,” Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) regional director Hank Sibley said at a news conference Tuesday. “He had band-aids. He had tattoos.”
A clothing patch worn by the killer was seen during the attack with the letters RWDS standing for “Right-Wing Death Squad,” a term popular with white supremacist groups.
“It looks to me like he was targeting the location rather than a specific group of people. He was very arbitrary about the people he killed, regardless of age, race or gender,” Mr Sibley said.
“The big question we’re dealing with right now is what’s his motive, why did he do it? Well, the big question is, we don’t know.”
He added that the man legally bought eight guns, including the AR-15, which he saw being fired. Three firearms were found in his possession, while another five were in his vehicle.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Center on Extremism said Tuesday that research on the suspect’s social media shows he was “obsessed with violence and committed to a range of extremist ideologies, including anti-Semitism, violent misogyny and white supremacy.” “.
Mr Sibley also confirmed reports of the gunman’s brief deployment – and his discharge – from the US Army.
“Early on in basic training, from what I saw, they realized he wasn’t fit for the army,” he said, adding “there were some questions about his fitness for service.”
According to the US Department of Defense, the suspect enlisted in the Army in June 2008 and was “dismissed three months later without completing basic training” due to “physical or mental condition.”
His weekend raid, which killed three children as young as three and injured seven others, ended when a police officer responding to an unrelated call killed him at the scene.
According to the Texas DPS, by then the suspect had shot dead 15 people within three or four minutes at the crowded Allen Premium Outlet Malls.
Zach Horn, an attorney for the responding officer, released a statement to local media praising him as a “brave servant” who “sprinted toward high-powered rifle fire when everyone else ran away.”
“He is doing well and would appreciate his privacy as he continues to process this life-changing tragedy,” Mr Horn said.