Collin County coroner scrambles for closure after Allen Mall shooting

Families and communities are grieving after last weekend’s shooting at an Allen outlet mall.

Eight people were killed in just a few minutes, and another seven were injured, some of them seriously. An Allen Police officer who received another call shot the heavily armed perpetrator dead.

The massacre also shocked and overwhelmed the Collin County coroner’s office.

The county’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Kenny Su, said the department typically handles homicides every two to three weeks.

Among those killed were two sisters in elementary school, two parents and their child, an engineer, a man who had sought asylum from violence in Venezuela, and a man before he was killed while trying to help others. also included a security guard who allegedly rescued one person to safety.

In the days following the shooting, authorities worked long hours to move victims’ bodies, identify them and notify families, partly ending the country’s second deadliest mass shooting so far this year. let me

Here’s everything we know and don’t know about the Allen Mall shooting.

Su’s voice trembled at times as he explained how employees worked overtime for days to complete the investigation. He said it was important to provide closure to his family and information to the public.

“We’re all under a lot of pressure. We have to deal with emotions too,” Su said. dallas morning news. “Because we feel anger for the shooter and we feel sad for the victim. But that’s our job. That’s our job.”

But he added, “Compared to the loss of family, this is nothing.”

“Obligation to act swiftly”

Hsu said the autopsy room is usually bright on weekends. In the early hours of May 6th, he had been sued for an unrelated murder.

Later, a field investigator called him about the shooting.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, Su said she began preparing to pick up the bodies while field workers worked to remove them from the mall. In addition to the eight victims, the office also received the body of the shooter.

A security guard, an engineer and three children were among those killed in the Allen Mall shooting.

Officers in the medical examiner’s office “feel obligated to act quickly,” putting in extra shifts, skipping lunch and staying late into the night, said chief field investigator Robert Lawon. .

In a written statement, Lawon said it took hours to identify the deceased and notify family members, especially since some of the victims had relatives in other countries.

Some victims were visually identifiable or carried identification. The FBI provided an on-site digital fingerprint scan, which made the process easier, he said.

Children were shown post-mortem photographs by their families. Su said field workers show black-and-white photographs to reduce trauma.

Allen’s Jay Lewis prayed Friday at a memorial in memory of the victims of the Allen Premium Outlets shooting.(Juan Figueroa/staff photographer)

examine the evidence

Eight victims were identified as Kyu Cho, 37. Cindy Cho, 35 years old. James Cho, 3 years old. Daniela Mendoza, 11 years old. Sofia Mendoza, 8 years old. Christian Lacourt, 20 years old. Elio Cumana-Rivas, 32 years old. and Aishwarya Tartikonda (26).

Sue and a technician finished dissecting them and the shooter Wednesday morning.

“We did our best,” Sue said. “We feel exhausted. My whole team feels exhausted.”

Su said he worked more than 12 hours a day and handled two to three cases.

He stood and “researched every detail, collected evidence and projectiles, documented all those findings,” he said.

What we know about the injured victims of the Allen shooting

Victims with families abroad had to expedite the issuance of death certificates so that their remains could be sent abroad quickly.

Su said the agency is now working on the case that had to be postponed. The facility can store about 15 bodies at a time. There were 17 people on Monday and they needed a mobile morgue transport unit.

“Emotionally, they suffer a lot.”

Until Saturday, Sue said she had never experienced anything like the work required after a shooting. In Collin County, where murders are rare, the sudden loss of life was hard for him to imagine.

“It will probably take time to digest this grief,” Su said. “You wouldn’t expect that to happen,” he added.

The county’s population is growing rapidly and now the office is planning to increase its staff to better handle similar situations, he said.

“I hope we never have to face something like this again,” Su said. “But I think we need to be prepared.”

Flowers, toys and messages surround a row of eight crosses to commemorate the victims of the shooting near the entrance to the Allen Premium Outlets.(Smiley N. Poole/staff photographer)

Lahuon said the past few days had been “challenging days” for employees, adding that many of the ministry’s employees frequently visited shopping malls with their families.

“Employees with young children express their sympathies to the children who lost their lives and to the families left behind who mourn their loss,” he wrote. “My heart goes out to the families affected by this unimaginable tragedy.”

Su said some of the field agents were “extremely distressed emotionally” and needed counseling.

Lafn said employees had been debriefed using the company’s counseling service, which specializes in helping first responders after traumatic events.

“This office and the community owe it to the brave police officers who neutralized the shooter,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for him, more people could have been injured or killed.”

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