The gunman who fatally shot eight people at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, on Saturday was previously kicked out of the U.S. Army before he completed basic training, a spokesman for the service revealed on Monday.
The shooter, 33, enlisted in the Army in June 2008, but was “terminated three months later without completing initial entry training,” Army spokesman Heather Hagan told Task & Purpose.
“He was not awarded a military occupational specialty. He had no deployments or awards. We do not provide characterization of discharge for any soldier,” she added.
Hagan did not reveal the reason for the gunman’s early departure from the service, but another Army official confirmed he left due to an Army regulation that allows for the removal of soldiers due to “other designated physical or mental conditions.”
An FBI bulletin obtained by Rolling Stone claimed that the bureau’s “review and triage of the subject’s social media accounts revealed hundreds of postings and images to include writings with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist rhetoric, including neo-Nazi materials and material espousing the supremacy of the white race,” adding that he was removed from the Army due to “mental health concerns.”
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned against jumping to conclusions relating to the shooter, who is a Latino male.
“Well, so listen, I know that there are a lot of, let’s say early stories about the shooter out there, what I can tell from talking to the investigators yesterday, is that people should not jump to conclusions because there’s a lot of conflicting information about him,” Abbott said on Monday.
“Let the investigators work through the guy’s background,” he added. “And I think that once you see more information about the guy’s background, it will reveal a little bit more about why this happened.”
Abbott also offered his condolences on Sunday during a vigil for the victims.
“The hearts of all Texans are with Allen, Texas. Tonight, I joined my fellow Texans in Allen for a community vigil for the innocent lives lost last night and those who are recovering from injuries. As this community heals, Texas will be with you every step of the way,” he tweeted.