Disturbing Posts Show Neo-Nazi Shooter Planned to Target Texas Mall

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Reuters/YouTube
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Reuters/YouTube

The gunman who opened fire on an Allen, Texas shopping mall on Saturday, killing eight, appears to have posted neo-Nazi content on the social media site OK.ru, where his profile picture was a smiley face with a Hitler mustache.

The existence of the profile, which glorifies murder and Nazis, was previously revealed by The New York Times, which reported that investigators are looking into the account. Bellingcat researcher Aric Toler identified the account on Monday, along with a corresponding YouTube account on which the shooter, Mauricio Garcia, posted his face and name. Although investigators have yet to announce a motive for the killing, the OK.ru account chronicles more than three years of an apparent fixation with Nazis.

Some of the account’s most recent posts appear to foreshadow the mass killing. On April 16, it uploaded a series of pictures outside the Allen Outlet Mall’s H&M entrance, where Garcia would later open fire. It also shared screenshots of a page indicating the mall’s busiest hours, along with location data showing at least two previous visits to the site.

In late April, the account shared pictures of body armor laden with magazines for a rifle. The bulletproof vest had a patch reading “RWDS,” an acronym for “right wing death squad.” Law enforcement had previously referenced the patch when identifying Garcia as a potential politically motivated extremist. The following day, the account posted pictures of a torso (presumably Garcia’s own) tattooed with a swastika and Nazi SS bolts, alongside a caption railing against “diversity.”

The OK.ru user also uploaded a picture of his hand, which appeared to bear the same tattoo as the shooter, and an old identification card with the name “Mauricio.” A picture of receipt for multiple guns, uploaded in January, has the name “Mauricio,” along with a poorly redacted phone number that appears to match one identified as the shooter’s.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Eight people were killed in Saturday’s shooting. </p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">ABC Affiliate WFAA via REUTERS </div>

Eight people were killed in Saturday’s shooting.

ABC Affiliate WFAA via REUTERS

Many of the posts addressed his Hispanic heritage, which some commentators previously cited when expressing doubts about his neo-Nazi leanings.

In one recent post, he mused about the Latino people being white, and cited Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist with Hispanic heritage.

“Hell Nick Fuentes said something like that while he was on the pearl show,” he wrote. “I think I even read in the news Hispanics could be the new white supremist [sic]. Just the other day this black dude told me the line is blurring. He can't tell the difference anymore. Someone would look white but their [sic] actually Hispanic.”

Other posts include photos of weapons and ammunition, and espouse bigotry toward women, Jewish people, and racial minorities. Among them are photos of men and women giving Nazi salutes, with the caption, “My kind of people.” “Pinochet did nothing wrong,” reads a line of text beneath a picture of brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. In a handwritten notebook entry dated July 11, 2022 and posted to the account, Garcia says somebody told him he looks “like the type to walk into a crowd and start shooting.”

There were also posts about romance—or lack thereof.

“I don’t care about getting a girlfriend anymore,” one said. “I still want sex, just not a ‘girlfriend’ because I don’t believe anymore women are capable to genuinely love a man.”

The account had no friends and no comments on any of its posts.

Garcia, 33, pulled into the parking lot of the shopping center in a gray Dodge Charger on Saturday afternoon, then emerged in tactical gear emblazoned with a RWDS patch and holding an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, indiscriminately mowing down victims, including a 20-year-old security guard, a 27-year-old engineer visiting the U.S. from India, a married couple, and three young children. He was shot dead at the scene by an Allen police officer who happened to be in the area on another call. Police say they have not yet determined a motive for the second-deadliest mass shooting so far in 2023, the 248th mass shooting of the year to date.

Garcia’s family is also struggling to process the senseless violence, according to one relative.

“I know you want answers, and we want answers too,” Garcia’s stepfather, Jose Sai Ortuno, told The Daily Beast on Monday. “We are like you guys—you guys have questions and are looking for answers, but we are as well.”

Ortuno, a drywall installer in the Dallas area, described his stepson’s Saturday afternoon rampage at the Allen Premium Outlets as “horrible.”

“You know how people are feeling about this, this horrible thing,” Ortuno said before apologizing and hanging up. “Believe me, it’s horrible. And it’s double for us.”

<div class="inline-image__credit">ABC Affiliate WFAA via REUTERS</div>
ABC Affiliate WFAA via REUTERS

Garcia worked as a security guard, according to Texas’s private security registry. His most recent employer, according to the database, is a Texas-based security firm. Reached on Monday, the company’s chief declined to comment.

His previous employer, a security company at which Garcia worked from Sept. 2016 until March 2017, told The Daily Beast that “we are cooperating with law enforcement, but have no further comment at this time.”

Garcia received Level II, Level III, and Firearms Proficiency training, according to the Texas database. The latter two courses require firearms tests.

Heather J. Hagan, a U.S. Army Public Affairs spokeswoman, said in a statement issued Monday that Garcia joined the service in June 2008 and was “terminated three months later without completing initial entry training. He was not awarded a military occupational specialty. He had no deployments or awards.”

Hagan said the Army does not provide “characterization of discharge.” However, an Army official said Garcia was separated due to “designated physical or mental conditions,” without offering further specifics.

Those conditions, according to the specific Army regulation under which Garcia was separated, include everything from chronic airsickness and seasickness to bedwetting and sleepwalking to dyslexia and severe nightmares, as well as “other disorders manifesting disturbances of perception, thinking, emotional control or behavior sufficiently severe that the Soldier’s ability to effectively perform military duties is significantly impaired.”

There has been a documented shift to the right among Hispanics and Latinos, and some, like open neo-Nazi and recent Donald Trump dinner partner Nick Fuentes, have taken it to extremes. In an emailed statement, Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the nonprofit Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, called the notion that only whites can be white supremacists a “misnomer.”

David Giroux lives two streets away from the Garcia family home and taught high school math to Garcia’s brother Christian.

“These things, when they happen in your neighborhood, you can’t help but be affected,” Giroux told The Daily Beast, noting that he saw Christian Garcia on the street just a few days before his sibling shot up the mall. “It’s a weird feeling. If you want to play the degrees-of-separation game, I’m one degree away from a mass shooter. I don’t think I intend to let my behavior be any different from what it was beforehand, but it’s just a somber reminder [of how close this hit to home].”

The Allen Premium Outlets have more than 120 stores across the property, and Dennis Franks, a retired FBI supervisory special agent based in Houston who now does security consulting for the private sector, believes businesses need to bolster their spending on security across the board.

“I’m not blaming the mall for what happened, but it is an example of a situation where businesses are going to have to devote more to security,” Franks told The Daily Beast. “There are some businesses that are the exception, but for the most part, my experience has been that really big corporations do not devote sufficient resources to security until they’ve had an incident that costs them a lot of money.”

—with additional reporting by Decca Muldowney

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.