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Daily Record
Daily Record
George Bunn & Matthew Fulton

British family caught in Texas mall massacre hid in H&M storeroom

A British family have told the harrowing story of how they were forced to hide in a mall in Texas as a gunman killed eight people. The massacre, which took place on Saturday in Allen, Texas saw eight people shot and seven injured.

Abu Akther, from Stoke, was shopping with his family at Allen Premium Outlets when they heard gunfire. The father ensured the safety of his wife and children before he tried to scope out the terrifying situation developing in the shopping centre, reports StokeonTrentLive.

The man says he saw bodies 'lying on the ground' before taking refuge in a storeroom inside an H&M for over an hour before police arrived to escort the family to safety.

A lone gunman killed eight people and wounded seven more before he was killed at the scene by a police officer who happened to be responding to another call. An AR-15-style assault rifle was found nearby.

Abu, who used to work at Vale Curry House in Burslem, said: "We went to the mall and it was busy. We couldn't find a parking space. I went into H&M and as we walked in, we just heard a pop. We didn't know it was a gunshot.

Police escort civilians from the mall after the shooting (@AssociatedPress)

"Then there was a rapid 'pop pop pop'. I told my family to stay inside and hide. We were right at the entrance and my family covered themselves with railings and clothes. I went back out and I saw a card messed up the window as I could hear more gunshots.

"There were bodies on the floor to the left and a lady came towards me. She had been shot. I grabbed her and brought her back into H&M.

"We were told to go into the storeroom. There was a girl bawling her eyes out. She said 'I think my mom's dead'. I was comforting her, I was telling her she's ok."

Abu and his family were escorted from the mall safely but saw the terrifying scene of dead bodies lying on the ground.

He added: "We were in the storeroom for a good hour before the police came. They told us to put our hands up and asked 'has anyone got any weapons?'. They started escorting everybody out. As we were going out I look at the H&M window and there were bullets everywhere through the glass, literally inches away from where I left my wife and child hiding.

"You could see the victims. There's a bush outside H&M and there was the body of a child there. She was crouching down in that position behind a bush. We carried on walking and we saw a male on the floor dead. At the time we assumed there was more than one shooter because of the amount of bullets sprayed everywhere.

"Eventually we got out, everybody was waiting outside the complex for hours. There were hundreds of police cars and ambulances.

"Fox News was there. They interviewed me for a couple of minutes. It still hasn't sunk in. My wife shouted at me saying 'why did you go back outside' but the way I saw it was there was a guy with a gun shooting. I'm not one to wait for him to kill me, I would rather confront it. It's a tricky one. If he comes into the shop it doesn't matter how much you hide, you're going to get killed.

"Adrenaline and fear took over. Even when the gunshots were firing, nobody knew what was going on. Then we saw the bodies. You could imagine the scenes. It's surreal to be honest, even now it hasn't sunk in.

"We were meters away. The mall was busy, we drove round twice to find a parking space, if we had driven round one more time and got out where we did that would be where the shooter was. Anybody could have got shot. We've been blessed."

Abu and his family were visiting relatives in Texas when the massacre happened. They have remained in the Allen area and are due to fly back to Michigan, where he now lives.

He added: "Everything's a bit hectic, we just want to go back to Michigan. Even with my wife it still hasn't sunk in how close we were to death. It could have been any of us. Ten seconds after we walked out of the shop we could have got shot."

Six innocent people were pronounced dead at the scene while two died from injuries later in hospital. Three of the injured ranged from the ages of five to 61 and were still in hospital as of last night.

The gunman was named by investigators as Mauricio Garcia. He was said to be wearing combat tactical gear during the shooting and was found with multiple rounds of ammunition in his possession.

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