In the days after a May 6 2023 outlet mall mass shooting at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, a Reddit account submitted a post to r/news stating that investigators had identified a possible link between the incident and global white supremacist movements:
Eight people were killed. On May 8 2023, the Associated Press covered the Texas outlet mall shooting, reporting:
The second-deadliest U.S. mass shooting of the year unfolded at a shopping mall in an affluent suburb in Texas, leaving eight victims dead and investigators probing whether the killer may have been driven by right-wing extremism.
Authorities have not yet announced a motive for why the gunman, 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, unleashed a hailstorm of bullets [on May 6 2023] at Allen Premium Outlets – about 25 miles north of Dallas.
Garcia entered the Army in June 2008 but was terminated after three months and did not complete basic training, Army spokesperson Heather Hagan said … A U.S. defense official said Garcia was separated because of a mental health condition after receiving a mental health evaluation.
On r/news, the post was flaired with a “soft paywall” link, indicating that the linked story might not be accessible to all visitors; it was published by the Wall Street Journal on May 7 2023:
Authorities are investigating a Texas shooter’s possible links to white supremacist ideology, according to law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the probe, following a killing spree at a suburban Dallas mall on Saturday [May 6 2023].
The gunman was identified as Mauricio Garcia, 33 years old, the officials said. He is accused of killing eight people and injuring seven others after opening fire at Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas, before being shot dead by a police officer. He used an AR-15-style rifle in the attack and multiple other firearms were found at the scene, according to the officials.
Law-enforcement officials were examining Mr. Garcia’s social-media accounts, which appeared to show an interest in white supremacy, one of the officials said. After he was killed, Mr. Garcia was found wearing a patch with a white supremacist abbreviation, according to the official.
Later in the piece, the outlet added:
People with white supremacist beliefs have carried out several mass shootings in recent years, including at a Walmart in El Paso and a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.
A May 7 2023 NBC News article about the shooting quoted “two senior law enforcement officials,” reporting:
[The shooter] was wearing a tactical vest and also had a handgun, one of the senior law enforcement officials said.
More weapons and ammunition were found in his car, the source said. At the time of the massacre, he was wearing a patch on his chest that included the acronym “rwds,” according to two senior law enforcement officials. Authorities believe the letters stand for “right wing death squad,” a phrase used in far-right online spaces, one of the senior law enforcement officials added.
A preliminary review of what is believed to be the shooter’s social media accounts reveal hundreds of posts that include racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist rhetoric, including neo-Nazi material and material espousing white supremacy, two senior law enforcement officials said.
On May 8 2023, the New York Times addressed the perpetrator’s social media activity per investigators:
The online profile being investigated also includes several pictures showing a black tactical vest with an RWDS patch. In addition, the profile includes a screenshot from Google Maps showing the time at which the mall where the shooting took place was likely to be busiest.
Though the writer of the posts suggests several times that they are of Hispanic origin — at one point indicating they are originally from Mexico — there is also a clear embrace of white supremacy. As recently as last month, the account contained a post saying that “white people and Hispanics have a lot in common.”
Journalist Robert Evans linked to a tweet by Bellingcat’s Aric Toler, featuring an array of the Allen shooter’s social media posts:
Toler published a detailed thread about the shooter’s right-wing ideology on May 8 2023. It included photographs from the social media profile in question:
Texas-based journalist Steven Monacelli retweeted the image, alongside screengrabs showing attempts to discredit claims about the shooter’s social media activity. Monacelli included additional images from the account:
Shortly after a May 6 2023 mass shooting at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, law enforcement officials disclosed the deceased suspected shooter appeared to espouse white supremacist beliefs. On May 8 2023, screenshots of the perpetrator’s social media activity circulated. Police confirmed the individual wore a “RWDS” patch, and that the acronym stood for “right-wing death squad.” While this is not enough to definitively link him to any one particular group, the ideology represented in the posts, signals, and tattoos is clear.