The USA and the weapons – another shooting spree shocks the country
Shooting rampages regularly shake the United States. This time, a gunman opened fire at a shopping complex near Dallas. Meanwhile, the debate about firearms is also reaching Germany.
Washington/Berlin. A new case of bloody gun violence is stirring up the United States: a gunman killed eight people in a shooting spree in a busy shopping center in the state of Texas. US President Joe Biden announced on Sunday that children were among the dead. Exact details about the victims were not initially known. The crime happened on Saturday in Allen, a suburb of the city of Dallas. A police officer who was on site at the time shot the alleged perpetrator before there were any more fatalities, local authorities said. Several people were injured in the attack. Eyewitnesses reported disturbing scenes.
“It was pure chaos,” Joseph Adams told the Dallas Morning News. “People were screaming for help, calling for ambulances, while police drove by looking for the shooter,” said the 45-year-old teacher. He saw four victims lying on the floor in front of a clothing store. Bodies covered in white sheets were also seen in videos taken from a TV helicopter. Brishon Brisby, 27, who wanted to return a pair of shoes, told the newspaper she no longer felt safe anywhere: “If it can happen today, it can happen tomorrow.”
Steven Spainhouer told CBS that when he heard about the shooting he immediately rushed to the mall where his son works. There he tried to save people. “The first girl I approached was curled up with her head in the bushes,” he said. “So I felt for the pulse, pulled her head to the side – and she no longer had a face.” He also found a little boy who survived because his mother threw herself protectively over him. “I pulled him around the corner and sat him down, and he was covered from head to toe … like someone had poured blood on him.” What he saw at the crime scene will haunt him throughout his life, Spainhouer said .
Videos showed a man dressed in black getting out of a silver car in the parking lot and apparently firing at people on the sidewalk first. Eyewitnesses said the gunman was wearing a bulletproof vest or riot gear. Others told CNN they heard dozens of gunshots. The local police initially provided little detail on the case. Biden said the attacker gunned down innocent people “in tactical gear and with an AR-15 assault rifle.” This weapon is used particularly frequently in rampages in the USA.
Lots of crowd on Saturday afternoon
The scene of the crime is a sprawling outlet shopping center with around 120 shops and restaurants. It was particularly crowded there on Saturday afternoon. Many young people were also out shopping in the complex. Allen is about 40 kilometers north of Dallas and has a population of just over 100,000.
The US has long faced massive levels of gun violence. In Germany, research by the “Tagesspiegel” and the ZDF program “Magazine Royale” on deals by European arms manufacturers in the US market is causing a stir. According to this, the Federal Ministry of Economics has for decades organized and partially financed a stand for German companies at the world’s largest firearms fair in the USA – but is now stopping. “There will be no new federal trade fair stand” at the “Shot Show” in Las Vegas, a ministry spokeswoman told the “Tagesspiegel”.
It’s easy to get guns in the US
In the United States, killing sprees and fatal shootings are part of everyday life. Firearms are readily available and widely circulated in the United States. In the current case in Texas, a police officer who was working on something else at the time heard shots at the shopping complex on Saturday afternoon. The officer intervened immediately, caught the shooter and “switched it off”. Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey said he was believed to have acted alone. The background to the crime initially remained unclear.
The local fire chief, Jonathan Boyd, said on Saturday evening (local time) that rescue workers initially found seven dead when they arrived at the scene, including the shooter. Nine people were taken to the hospital, two of whom died from their injuries. The remaining seven are still being treated and three of them are in critical condition. The authorities initially did not provide more detailed information about the fatalities and the perpetrator.
Just a few days ago, there was also a sensational case of brutal gun violence in Texas: A 38-year-old shot five neighbors, including a child, in a small town near Houston. The neighbors had previously asked him to stop shooting around in his front yard so their baby could sleep. Instead of calming down, the drunk man went over a little later with a gun and committed the bloody deed.
Governor: “unspeakable tragedy”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the incident an “unspeakable tragedy.” He told Fox News on Sunday that it was “just devastating”. At the same time, Abbott tried to dispel the impression that the spate of horrific shootings in Texas was linked to lax gun laws in his state. Such shootings have also taken place in states with much stricter gun laws, he said.
Larger attacks of this kind – for example in schools, supermarkets, churches, nightclubs or at large public events – regularly lead to discussions about tightening gun laws. So far without any success. US President Joe Biden has repeatedly called for stricter gun laws. In order to implement this, however, Biden and his Democrats would have to rely on the willingness of the Republicans in Congress to cooperate – and there is no sign of that on this topic. The White House said Biden had been briefed on the Allen incident. The government headquarters are in contact with law enforcement and local authorities to offer support.
Biden once again called on the Republicans in Congress on Sunday to give up their blockade and allow a ban on assault rifles, for example. “Republican members of Congress can no longer shrug off this epidemic,” he said. Sending “thoughts and prayers” to the affected families on Twitter is not enough. In response to the Allen attack, Biden had flags flown at half-mast on public buildings.
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