|Texas mall shooter failed Army infantry training over mental health|
Defense News & Army Times25 day(s) ago
This is a developing story and was updated at 3:45p.m. eastern. The suspect in the deadly shooting at an Allen, Texas, outlet mall Saturday was discharged from the U.S. Army after three months of service, according to military officials. Mauricio Garcia, 33, entered the Army in June 2008 and was terminated without completing initial entry training, said Heather Hagan, a spokeswoman with Army Public Affairs. He earned no awards — including the National Defense Service Medal, then awarded to initial training graduates — and never became qualified in a career field, she indicated. An Army official added Garcia was separated through a policy that allows commanders to terminate soldiers because of physical or mental conditions that interfere with their duties. The official did not specify what condition led to Garcia’s separation. The official said the service discharged Garcia under an authority for removing troops with “other designated physical or mental conditions,” according to a 2005 edition of the service’s enlisted administrative separation rules. A second Army official told Military Times that Garcia was removed from infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia, due to a mental health condition. He received an uncharacterized discharge, the official confirmed, an entry-level discharge that signifies neither honorable nor poor service. The Texas Department of Public Safety identified Garcia on Sunday as the suspected shooter who killed eight people at Allen Premium Outlets. Garcia was killed at the scene by a police officer. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the shooting by emphasizing the need to address mental health issues. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Abbott said he wouldn’t enact gun control. “People want a quick solution,” Abbott said. “The long term solution here is to address the mental health issue.” As of Monday, federal officials were investigating the motive for the attack and working to ascertain whether Garcia had expressed white supremacist or neo-Nazi views. At the time of the shooting, Garcia wore a patch on his chest that read “RWDS,” an acronym for “Right Wing Death Squad,” which is a popular phrase among right-wing extremists, the AP reported, citing anonymous federal officials. This story was produced in partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism. Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army. He focuses on investigations, personnel concerns and military justice. Davis, also a Guard veteran, was a finalist in the 2023 Livingston Awards for his work with The Texas Tribune investigating the National Guard's border missions. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill.