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El Paso Walmart shooting: Multiple victims, police say

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 8/3/2019 Joey Garrison, Olivia Sanchez and Doug Stanglin
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EL PASO, Texas — Multiple people are dead and one person is in custody after a shooting Saturday morning at an El Paso, Texas Walmart, according to authorities.

El Paso Police Sgt. Robert Gomez said phone calls started coming in at approximately 10 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time about a shooting at the Walmart and other nearby locations at the mall. He said there are "multiple victims," but did not say how many. 

Eleven victims have been transported to the University Medical Center of El Paso.  

Gomez said the suspect is a male but provided no other details about him. He said initial reports were that the shooter used a rifle, but he could not confirm those reports.

Mayor Dee Margo had said earlier that three people were in custody, but police now say they only have one. He said additional information will be provided when it is available. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies from the state and federal levels are assisting in the investigation.

Police, who first reported the shooting shortly after 11 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time, said the scene is now under control, and that there is no imminent threat.

"This is a tragedy we would have never ever thought would happen in El Paso," Margo said.

Glendon Oakley, a member of the military, said in an interview with CNN that he was shopping in a Foot Locker store at the mall when he heard shots rang out. He said he and another man immediately ran to protect kids who were near them. 

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“I was just thinking about the kids, so I picked up as many as possible. I was worrying about the kids more than myself.”

At around 11 a.m. MDT, the police department tweeted to stay away from the Cielo Vista Mall area. The police also said people should avoid the area from Airway Boulevard to Hawkins Boulevard to north of Interstate 10, near the Walmart. 

Multiple videos on social media posted by shoppers have shown people fleeing the nearby mall. 

A family who was near Walmart during the shooting fled to a nearby Landry’s Seafood, hostess Sofia Cervantes told USA TODAY.

“They are in shock right now,” Cervantes said. “They were barely able to talk to us.”

Cervantes said the restaurant is on lockdown.  

The first alert from police came at 11:03 a.m. Mountain Time. 

Police reported via radio around midday that they had a suspect in custody.

The first alert from police came at 11:03 a.m. Mountain Time.

The shooting comes just days after two people were shot and killed in a Walmart store in Southhaven, Mississippi, south of Memphis, and the same week three people were killed at a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California.

This is a developing story.

Contributing: Samuel Gaytan of the El Paso Times

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter: @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Active shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, police say

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