Warning: This post contains graphic descriptions of violence.
Accounts from people caught in the gunfire when a man started shooting at an Allen, Texas, mall over the weekend paint a picture of fear and devastation.
Mauricio Garcia, who has been identified as the suspect by police, began firing in the parking lot near the mall’s H&M store after he got out of his car, according to video obtained by CNN. Another witness video shows shoppers — some with small children — screaming, running and ducking behind rows of cars as the shots ring out.
Steven Spainhouer rushed to the scene after receiving a call from his son, who works at the H&M and had taken shelter in a break room. When he arrived in the parking lot outside the store, he “started counting the bodies on the ground … one, two, three, five, six, seven bodies.”
“I saw moms and dads covering the eyes of their kids in tears, kids holding their hands up, people running for their lives,” he said.
As the gunman entered and made his way through the mall, shoppers yelled warnings to each other and fled as many store employees rushed to shelter customers in storage rooms or back hallways, according to several witness accounts.
Max Weiss, an 18-year-old mall store employee, described hiding with coworkers and customers in a pair of rooms at the back of the store as “the most terrifying moment of my life.”
Andria Gaither had just gotten back from her lunch break on Saturday around 3:30 p.m. local time when the shooting began, she told CNN.
Gaither said she was in the back of the store when she noticed two young girls who began hiding in the clothing rack and fitting room. She said her boss was ushering customers into the back of the store to hide from the gunfire.
Joshua Barnwell, a Navy combat veteran who has training in emergency care, hid in the Lucky Brand store at the mall when the shooting erupted – and when he felt it was safe to do so, he left the store to go tend to those injured.
When he arrived in front of the H&M store, he noticed gunshot-blasted windows and then he saw several victims lying in the area, including a child who was dead, and other people with vicious injuries in a landscaped area.
CNN’s Ashley Killough, Michelle Watson, Yahya Abou-Ghazala, Bob Ortega, Curt Devine, Keith Allen, Jillian Sykes, Holly Yan, Christina Maxouris, Sharif Paget and Jason Kravarik contributed to this report.