Mall Shooting Witness: ‘The Injuries Were So Severe There Was Nothing I Could Do'

Steven Spainhouer, who is a gun owner, hopes talking about the shooting scene helps spur "meaningful gun control legislation"


When a gunman stepped out of a sedan and opened fire on shoppers at Allen Premium Outlets Saturday, people outside ran away in the parking lot, while those inside scattered and took cover.

Steven Spainhouer's son works at the shopping center and called him when he couldn't get through to 911. Spainhouer was nearby and rushed to the scene, arriving before the police.

He said he performed CPR on victims and helped find rides to the hospital. But for some others, there was little he could do to help.

"The injuries were so severe there was nothing I could do," Spainhouer said.

His description of the scene is heartbreaking. Spainhouer recounted finding a girl near bushes in a praying position and reached down to check her pulse. When he turned her over, "she had no face," he said.

WARNING GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION: Steven Spainhouer's son survived the mass shooting at Allen Premium Outlets Saturday. He describes what he saw when he arrived at the scene to help .

"I found a 4-year-old under a lady, got the 4-year-old, 5-year-old, around the corner. He said he was OK, he was covered in blood from head to toe," he said. "There wasn't anything I could do."

Spainhouer's son sheltered inside the H&M store with fellow employees and shoppers. Father and son reunited when authorities began evacuating the mall.

"My son came out, and I wanna tell you, to see your son come out with his hands over his head and have to walk past dead bodies it's not something any parent or anybody should ever have to see or experience," Spainhouer said.

He is now joining a growing chorus of people touched by gun violence across the country who are calling for "meaningful gun control legislation."

I have guns. I've been around guns. I love my guns, but those automatic rifles that are on the streets need to come off the streets.

Steven Spainhouer

"I don't care if you are Republican or Democrat, we gotta find a consensus on how to make our communities safer and still respect the rights of people to have their guns if they want to have them," Spainhouer said.

The gunman killed eight people and wounded seven others – three critically — before being killed by a police officer who happened to be nearby answering an unrelated call.

Two senior law enforcement officials tell NBC News the man who opened fire was armed with a rifle of some kind as well as a handgun. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss details of an ongoing investigation.

Officials told The Associated Press the weapons included an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun.

Spainhouer told NBC News' Morgan Chesky that in the hours after the shooting, he was processing a lot of emotions, and his heartbreak has turned into anger over gun violence. He said, "Mental health didn't fire that gun," the victims were killed by bullets.

After witnessing the carnage the guns caused, he believes talking about the shooting will help him process the trauma. He said H&M is offering counseling to his son.

With the outpouring of support for the victims of the mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets, GoFundMe has launched a centralized hub for all verified fundraisers related to the shooting. The online fundraising platform said it was working around the clock to make sure that all funds donated go directly to survivors or the families of victims.

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