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The Texas outlet mall active shooter: The tragedy and the triumph

To the officer who stopped the killing, we thank you for inspiring the entire law enforcement profession with your determined, courageous and effective response

Allen mall analysis.png

The tragedy

May 6, 2023, was a busy Saturday at the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas when a 33-year-old man who had been booted from the Army before completing basic training, stepped from a silver sedan, armed with an AR-15. He wasted no time opening fire on families shopping at the mall.

According to his social media posts, this vile human looked upon mass shooting as a sport. He moved through the mall, killing eight and wounding seven innocent people, and like most active killers, would not stop the killing until someone as good as he was evil stopped him.

The triumph

As the shooter was exiting his vehicle, an Allen Police Department officer (yet to be named) was speaking to two children and their mother during a community policing contact. This pleasant contact was interrupted by the unmistakable staccato of gunfire at the outlet mall.

The officer snapped instantly into action. His response serves as a valuable training experience for any police officer who takes the time to watch the bodycam video below.

Here are 16 points worth remembering if you should find yourself in a similar circumstance.

  1. The officer radioed in the location and circumstances calling for all units available to report immediately: “145, I think we got shots fired at the outlet mall.”
  2. He ran to his squad, which was parked close by, and smoothly acquired his patrol rifle (great choice considering the threat) and expertly charged the weapon. Initially, he left the sling hanging, which appeared to be a choice. He began his initial move with the rifle unslung but at the ready, finger off the trigger.
  3. He ran toward the gunfire, warning people who were unaware of what was happening, while on the move.
  4. He asked quick questions of witnesses fleeing from the area of the shooting, “What you got? A real mass shooter?” Once his suspicions were verified, he instantly radioed the intelligence to other units and continued moving directly toward the gunfire. On the run he radioed, “I got a mass shooter.”
  5. Whenever the shooter stopped shooting, the officer slowed to scan the area for the killer.
  6. As he passed injured individuals, he re-enforced the peril of the call to himself and other officers by calling out, “I’m passing injured.”
  7. On the move, he kept a line of pillars between himself and the area where shots were periodically coming from. They served as cover and concealment.
  8. During the move he untangled his rifle sling and used it as designed, more effectively securing his weapon on the move.
  9. The officer continued to radio in his circumstance and location, asking for the channel to be cleared for him, realizing he was the first responding officer at this “real mass shooter.”
  10. Each time he got a fix on the shooting suspect, while already running toward the gunfire, he picked up his pace. Note: This high-stress, four-minute run on a warm day in full gear while en route to a gunfight demonstrates the need for police officers to be fit. For the ill-prepared officer, this call could have been a heart-stopper.
  11. When the officer located the shooter, he kept a pillar between himself and the shooter. Without giving warning, which made perfect sense under the circumstances, the officer adeptly leaned out to identify the shooter, isolate the shooter and observe the shooter’s imminent lethality.
  12. The officer was a visual aid proving the veracity of Wyatt Earp’s words when he said, “Fast is fine but accuracy is everything in a gunfight.” The officer appeared to deliberately control his breathing, take careful aim, and only then pressed the trigger in a controlled manner with his finger, accurately delivering rounds down range. The officer fired.
  13. After several shots, the officer paused and re-assessed. Seeing the shooter down he radioed, “Shots fired by police. I got him down.”
  14. The officer continued to cover and assess, and suddenly he saw another threatening movement and he fired again shouting, “Drop the gun!”
  15. The officer then cautiously moved from pillar to pillar maintaining cover between himself and the downed suspect as he eased around the killer on a flanking movement. Once again, the officer cleared the radio channel and reported the suspect down. He also shouted a warning to a citizen, “Get away from there!”
  16. Sensing officers arriving, he cautioned them, coordinating their approach. The footage ended with the suspect down.

Praise earned

The officer has justifiably received high praise for his response to this incident from all sectors. During this incident, he was able to quickly transition from urging children to use seat belts and listen to their mom, to running directly into a mass shooting in progress. He was magnificent to watch, during both endeavors.


On June 27, a Grand Jury returned “no bill,” which in Texas means the use of deadly force to stop the suspect at the mall was justified.

After releasing the bodycam video, Allen Police Department Chief Brian Harvey stated:

This video shows how quickly a routine interaction with the public turned into a life and death situation. This officer recognized the danger, ran toward the gunfire and neutralized the threat – and for his actions the community is forever grateful.”

Let me also say to the officer involved, thanks for inspiring the entire law enforcement profession with your determined, courageous and effective response. We too are forever grateful.

May the fact that you saved lives help you to navigate through the difficult emotional waters that you must be traveling through right now.

NEXT: Nashville PD’s response to the Covenant School active shooter was ‘by the numbers’

Lt. Dan Marcou is an internationally-recognized police trainer who was a highly-decorated police officer with 33 years of full-time law enforcement experience. Marcou’s awards include Police Officer of the Year, SWAT Officer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year and Domestic Violence Officer of the Year. Upon retiring, Lt. Marcou began writing. Additional awards Lt. Marcou received were 15 departmental citations (his department’s highest award), two Chief’s Superior Achievement Awards and the Distinguished Service Medal for his response to an active shooter. He is a co-author of “Street Survival II, Tactics for Deadly Encounters,” which is now available. His novels, “The Calling, the Making of a Veteran Cop,” “SWAT, Blue Knights in Black Armor,” “Nobody’s Heroes” and Destiny of Heroes,” as well as his latest non-fiction offering, “Law Dogs, Great Cops in American History,” are all available at Amazon. Dan is a member of the Police1 Editorial Advisory Board.