Police and FBI authorities are reporting 20 people have died, and 26 others are injured after responding to an active shooter situation at the Cielo Vista Mall area in El Paso, Texas, Saturday afternoon. The mass shooting occurred at a Walmart in the shopping center near the mall, with police sealing off the area and warning people to stay away due to the active situation.
FBI SWAT teams, armored vehicles and Texas Department of Safety troopers are on the scene with helicopters keeping an eye overhead according to The Texas Tribune.
CNN is reporting that there are "multiple deaths" from the shooting and other reports are indicating numbers as high as 18 injured on the scene. CBS News reports that police have one person in custody and confirm "multiple fatalities."
A later report by NBC News and CNN indicated the death toll had risen to 19 and injuries had risen to 26. The police also confirmed that at least 1,000-3,000 were shopping at the Walmart at the time of the shooting.
According to KTSM 9 News on Twitter, a source that works at the Walmart claims a man walked into the store and began firing with a "rifle" or "semi-automatic" weapon. Police have not confirmed these details yet.
Our news crew is just getting to the scene, multiple injuries inside the Walmart. Caller who works at Walmart says a man walked into Walmart and opened fire with "rifle" or some other "semi-automatic" type weapon. This is unconfirmed by police.https://t.co/wfXkVyoLs8— KTSM 9 News (@KTSMtv) August 3, 2019
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot tweeted a statement about the shooting, praising authorities on the scene and hoping for a positive conclusion to the situation.
"In El Paso, the Texas Dept. of Public Safety is assisting local law enforcement & federal authorities to bring this tragedy to the swiftest & safest possible conclusion," Abbott wrote.
Despite reports of multiple shooters and an active situation, police have only confirmed one suspect in custody and that the scene is now safe. Several and photographs from the scene show the aftermath of the shooting with graphic detail, patrons running from the Walmart and even a clip that captures the assailant firing in the background.
Shoppers leaving the scene of a mass shooting at Cielo Vista mall in El Paso. pic.twitter.com/4muC1fKj8R— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 3, 2019
Several Walmart employees took refuge in a nearby Landry's Seafood house restaurant according to CNN. Restaurant manager Oscar Collazo told the outlet that the employees looked "shook up" but were not injured.
"We never thought it would be so close to us this time," Collazo told CNN. "You see on the news all the time, but you don't think it could happen here until it does.
According to Fox News, witnesses at the scene said they saw a man with "a black shirt and cargo pants" shooting outside the Walmart before entering.
"He was just pointing at people and just shooting," Vanessa Saenz told the outlet from the scene.
Trump commented on the situation, taking to Twitter with his condolences.
"Terrible shootings in ElPaso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!" he wrote on Twitter.
Photo credit: JOEL ANGEL JUAREZ/AFP/Getty Images