A Texas man who said he was one of the first to respond to Saturday’s mass shooting at a Dallas-area outlet mall has recalled trying to save some of the victims, including a child he found beneath his dead mother.
“I never imagined in 100 years I would be thrust into the position of being the first first responder on the site to take care of people,” Steven Spainhouer told CBS News.
Spainhouer said he raced to the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen a little after 3:30 p.m. after receiving a call from his son who was working inside the mall’s H&M retail store and heard gunfire.
The gunman fatally shot eight people and wounded seven others, three of them critically, before being killed by an officer who happened to be nearby, authorities said.
“The first girl I walked up to was crouched down covering her head in the bushes, so I felt for a pulse, pulled her head to the side and she had no face,” Spainhouer said.
He continued on and said he found another child beneath his dead mother’s body.
“When I rolled the mother over, he came out. I asked him if he was OK and he said, ‘My mom is hurt, my mom is hurt,’” he said. “So rather than traumatize him, I pulled him around the corner, sat him down and he was covered from head to toe ... like somebody poured blood on him.”
Spainhouer identified himself as a “gun lover” and former police and Army officer in a separate interview Sunday with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart, but he said that even he believes there should be more gun restrictions, including a ban on automatic rifles.
“It wasn’t mental health that killed these people, it was an automatic rifle with bullets,” he said. “Prayers and condolences won’t bring these people back. We need some action in our legislatures at the federal and state level for better gun control. And I’m saying that as somebody who loves guns.”
President Joe Biden said the gunman, who was not immediately identified, wore tactical gear and fired an AR-15-style weapon.
Biden again called on Congress to pass a bill containing stricter gun control measures, including a ban on “assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” He also urged universal background checks, an end to immunity for gun manufacturers and a requirement for safe gun storage.
“I will sign it immediately. We need nothing less to keep our streets safe,” he said.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who has called for more guns in his state, blamed Saturday’s shooting on mental health issues.
“What Texas is doing in a big-time way, we are working to address that anger and violence but going to its root cause, which is addressing the mental health problems behind it,” he said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”
Texas last year ranked 33 in the country for having a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care for adults, according to the mental health advocacy organization Mental Health America. Overall, it came in dead last for access to mental health care for adults and youth.