Allen Premium Outlets may provide a clearer picture of the crowd assault when investigators obtain warrants to access a number of the suspect’s social media accounts, according to affidavits obtained by Allen Police detectives. NBC 5 Investigates has learned that the planning for the shooter began on major social media platforms.
One of the warrants describe images from a YouTube video entitled “Psychovision Face Reveal,” which investigators believe shows a gunman wearing a mask and removing it to reveal his face in the video of the shooting that was posted on the same day.
The suspect’s personal page seems to be filled with numerous posts where a video link was also posted on OK.Ru, a Russian social networking site, as seen on Investigates 5 NBC.
The page contains posts with a litany of rants and complaints about various religious and ethnic groups, as well as women, along with photos that seem to indicate a fascination with Nazi tattoos. These posts also include images that suggest the shooter scouted the Allen outlet mall in the weeks leading up to the attack, making it the busiest time to visit.
“We do know that he had neo-Nazi ideation,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Hank Sibley said at a news conference Tuesday.
Tom Petrowski, a former supervisor of the Joint Terrorism Task Force at the FBI, informed NBC that the shooter suspects may have turned to a foreign social media site to publish some of the content because authorities are likely to alert and inform people who knew him less.
“Posting this content on a little-known Russian platform, he understands that it will not gain any traction,” Petrowski remarked.
Petrowski, in hindsight, says that it is now much more difficult for investigators to find posts in social media that could help without the public’s assistance, especially given the litany of disturbing posts that populate social media sites worldwide. However, he also acknowledges that it seems easy to connect the dots in the social media posts to understand what the attacker was planning before taking any action.
Petrowski expressed, “It is disheartening to see how saturated the world is with platforms like social media, where the sad truth is that they often distort the truth. It is very concerning that he was posting such troubling things online.”
After the attack, investigators hoped to find some coded messages left by the shooter. They were challenged by the authorities’ taunt, but it seems that he even posted a message on Russian social media.
The shooter seemed to shoot without a specific target among the crowd, but authorities stated on Tuesday that they are still examining digital proof to collect additional details regarding the assailant’s beliefs and reasons.
Sibley stated, “He simply fired at individuals. The age, race, or gender did not hold any significance. Additionally, it appears that he selected the location as his target rather than a particular demographic. His actions were highly unpredictable.”
Meanwhile, the search warrants acquired by NBC 5 Investigates also disclose additional information about the firearms implicated in the assault.
The warrant affidavits stated that the individual was armed with six gun magazines and a pistol, an AR-15-style firearm, 10 rifle magazines, a vest designed for tactical purposes.
Authorities confirmed Tuesday that the shooter once had a Texas security guard’s license but said the license had lapsed in recent years.
They also said that they are trying to learn more details about the sudden departure of the man from the U.S. Army and his questions regarding fitness for duty in his surroundings.
The military has stated that the individual was released in 2008 prior to finishing basic training.
Petrowski ponders whether a tragedy could have been prevented if someone had witnessed the posts and raised their voice, raising inquiries about the shooter’s military history and the content shared on social media.
“We continue to reiterate the, you know, ‘observe something, report something’ chant, but that’s essentially what it boils down to,” he stated.