By Julio-Cesar Chavez
EL PASO, Tx. (Reuters) – Multiple people were killed in a shooting at a WalMart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday and more than one suspect was in custody, an official said, after panicked shoppers fled in the latest U.S. mass shooting.
Olivia Zepeda, chief of staff to El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, said there were multiple fatalities and multiple suspects arrested. She could not immediately say how many people were killed, or give any other details about the suspects.
The El Paso Police Department said the scene remained active around the Cielo Vista Mall, near the WalMart.
“There isn’t an imminent threat. There’s no active shooter currently, but that isn’t to say we’ve rendered the scene safe at this time,” El Paso police spokesman Enrique Carrillo told reporters.
He asked people who cannot reach loved ones to go to a family reunification center at a local middle school, instead of heading to the shopping center.
Multiple law enforcement agencies raced to the scene, including police, state troopers, Homeland Security agents and border patrol.
One witness said he saw at least one person inside the store with a fatal head wound, and he saw shoppers in bloodied clothes.
Other stores at the nearby mall were also locked down as police officers cleared the shopping center in the east of the city, which lies on the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
Video posted on Twitter showed customers at one department store being evacuated with their hands up.
“Hands in the air!” an officer can be heard shouting in the footage.
Mass shootings are common in the United States. On Sunday, a teenage gunman opened fire with a an assault-style rifle on the crowd at a food festival in Northern California, killing three people before fatally shooting himself.
(Reporting by Julio-Cesar Chavez in El Paso; Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Susan Thomas)