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Police dispute witness accounts of response to Texas mall shooting

Authorities have publicly denied the eyewitness account of a man who previously said he recalled the scene of the Allen, Texas, mall shooting in great detail shortly after the massacre, claiming he helped the victims before police officers arrived.

A gunman opened fire at an outlet mall outside Dallas. Eight people were killed and injured seven others on May 6.

Steven Spainhoere, a former U.S. Army officer, said he went to the Allen Premium Outlets after his son, who had taken shelter inside the H&M store where he worked, called to say he heard gunshots on the property.

Spainhauer spoke to several media outlets, including CBS News Texas, about the aftermath of the shooting. He claimed in that interview that he arrived at the outlet mall parking lot before first responders and said he administered aid and CPR to the gunshot victims. Spainhauer described the “carnage” he said he saw, including a young girl who had “no face” and a young boy covered in blood “from head to toe” who, according to Spainhauer, was hiding under the body of his dead mother. was .

The Allen Police Department issued a statement Friday contradicting Spanhauer’s account, saying detectives “have determined that Mr. Spanhauer was not a credible witness.”

Texas Mall Shooting

Inga VanWagner of Allen, Texas, who served in the U.S. Army, places flags over crosses at a makeshift memorial at the mall where several people were killed, Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Allen, Texas.

Tony Gutierrez/AP

“The Allen Police Department wishes to inform the public of inconsistencies with statements given by a witness to various media outlets. After the shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets, Mr. Steven Spainhauer of McKinney, Texas gave multiple public accounts of his actions,” the statement read. . “Inconsistencies between this public account and investigative information led the Allen Police Department to conduct a follow-up interview. During this interview, detectives determined that Mr. Spainhauer was not a credible witness to the incident.”

According to the police department, “Mr. Spainhauer arrived between 3:44 and 3:52 p.m. and was not the first on the scene, nor was he on the property at the time of the shooting.” The department also said Spainhauer “did not administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or first aid” and “did not transfer a dying mother who was covering a living child.”

“Since false reports can be common in such situations, it is imperative to confirm information before sharing it,” police said in a statement Friday. “Please note this to prevent unintended spread of misinformation.”

Officials previously said the shooting happened around 3:36 p.m. Saturday, May 6, in the parking lot outside the H&M store at the Allen Premium Outlets. The gunman, who was later identified by police 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, about four minutes later, at 3:40 p.m., was “neutralized” by an officer responding to an unrelated incident in the area. According to authorities, the officer called for backup after initially hearing gunshots.

Garcia was fatally shot outside a Fatburger restaurant in a different section of the mall. The Allen Police Department confirmed that law enforcement was on scene at the shopping center and investigating in a tweet posted at 4:22 p.m.

Spainhauer told CBS News Texas over the weekend that he stands by his account of the mass shooting in Allen. He also stood by his story in a statement posted on Facebook Saturday morning, saying he was “hurt and disappointed” by the Allen Police Department’s press release.

Texas Mall Shooting

People set up a makeshift memorial near Allen Premium Outlets on May 8, 2023.

Tony Gutierrez/AP

“First of all, I never said I heard gunshots at Allen Outlet Mall. When I got to the H&M store, someone asked for my help,” Spenhauer wrote. “If there had been other first responders there before I showed up, I would have had no way of knowing. If the Allen police had been at the mall before me, I would have had no way of knowing, because they weren’t at the H&M store. That’s where most of the shootings were.”

“I know what I did and didn’t do while waiting at the Allen Police and Fire Department. I know there were people who died and couldn’t be treated with CPR. I know because I was there,” the Facebook post continued. “I was unable to move any of the victims, except the first one I saw. A small child pulled himself from under the victim and I helped him to a safe place away from the area.”

Spanhauer said he arrived at the outlet mall “between 8 minutes and 16 minutes after (his son) Freddie’s call,” based on the estimated arrival time provided by the Allen Police Department.

“I didn’t see a police car or an ambulance for another 5-6 minutes, even though I called for help using a witness’s cell phone. A little more than 20 minutes after the shooting started, the victims were injured or dying at the H&M store,” he said.

“Instead of targeting me based on what I did or didn’t do, maybe the Allen police could explain why it took 20 minutes to get to the front of the H&M store, where the injured were already on site, if they were already there. I got there.”

The Allen Police Department did not share a response to Spainhauer’s statement.

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