In the days since nine people (including the gunman) were shot and killed at a mall in Allen, Texas, investigators and journalists have been looking to trace the online footprint of the shooter, named by authorities as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia.
The United States has a long and troubling history of mass shootings, with many of those who carry out such attacks leaving a trail of digital evidence. This case appears to be no different.
An Odnoklassniki (OK) account containing identification documents displaying Garcia’s name and date of birth, what appear to be diary entries and a declaration posted shortly before the shooting point to this being the primary social profile of the shooter.
The account also espoused far-right viewpoints and contained pictures of Garcia showing off at least two Nazi tattoos.
What follows is a breakdown of the content of the OK page, how we found it and how all available evidence points to it being tied to the shooter.
What is Odnoklassniki and how was this Profile Found?
Odnoklassniki is the second-largest Russian-language social network site behind VK.
The OK account in question was initially disclosed in a New York Times article on 8 May.
It is unclear how the investigators cited in the article learned about this account.
Finding the profile itself via OK’s search interface is simple enough. By starting with Garcia’s reported date of birth – 24 October 1989 – we can search for all men living in America born on that day. Only 62 results are returned. The third account appears to use a smiley face that bears a resemblance to Adolf Hitler as its profile picture. As we will see, this is the account of Mauricio Garcia.
We know that Garcia had accounts on YouTube and Facebook from his posts on OK, but they were frequently suspended. He had zero friends on his OK account, and was not in any groups. It is possible that he was using this account as a sort of personal diary where he would not be subject to content moderation. If he posted most of the content of this account – swastikas, threats of violence, etc. – on other mainstream social networks like Instagram or Facebook, it would be taken down quite quickly.
Garcia also posted countless photographs from his personal, handwritten diary on his OK page, although Bellingcat is not sharing these here so as not to further promote their content.
How do we Know it’s Really Mauricio Garcia’s Profile?
Outside of contextual clues – such as a farewell post right before the 6 May shooting – the account also contains numerous photographs of identification documents.
On 5 April 2023, an image of a speeding ticket with Garcia’s name and date of birth visible was posted to the OK account.
On 26 December 2022, an identification card again showing the same date of birth that matches that of Garcia was posted.
On the same day, a boarding pass that showed Garcia’s name, detailing a 2018 trip between Detroit and Dallas, was also shared.
Details in the OK profile can also be matched to images of the deceased shooter at the mall. Social media footage from the scene showed the shooter had a tattoo of the City of Dallas logo on his left hand.
This same tattoo can be seen in numerous photographs and videos on the OK profile, including during a lengthy apartment walkthrough video posted on 15 April 2023.
What About the Guy With the Neck Tattoo?
While this individual has the same name as the actual shooter, he has nothing to do with the Allen mall incident. Police have noted that the shooter was 33 years old (born 1989). The other Mauricio Garcia falsely identified by some social media users is a few years older (born 1986).
If you’ve seen a mug shot – it’s not the Allen, TX shooter, as the police have noted he has no prior criminal record.
What did the OK Account Detail About the Shooting?
On 15 April, three weeks prior to the shooting, photographs of the eventual site of the mass shooting were shared on the OK account, as well as details of peak times at the mall based on Google Maps information.
On 21 April, a photograph of a vest with the RWDS (Right-Wing Death Squad) patch that Garcia wore during the shooting was shared on the OK account.
At 7:10am (Central/US) on 6 May 2023, just hours before the shooting, a final message was shared on the OK account.
Bellingcat is not linking to the post so as not to further promote it but it is filled with quotes from television shows, music, video games and movies, ending with a quotation from the South Park movie. One quote from the Goofy Movie states “they have been laughing since I can remember but they are not going to laugh anymore”. It is possible that such messages could be genuine cry of despair or they could be designed to mislead or confuse journalists and investigators trying to uncover the shooter’s true motives, as has been the case in previous mass shootings.
Did the Gunman Have Nazi Tattoos?
A month before the 6 May shooting, a post and photographs appeared on the OK account that detailed a selection of tattoos, including an SS sign and a swastika.
Although Garcia’s face is not visible in the pictures, tattoos that can be seen on his arms match other photos where his face can be seen. For example, the 1 of the 10/6 (potentially a reference to the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland) tattoo he has is visible on his left upper arm in the swastika tattoo picture (above).
He posted a photograph of this 10/6 tattoo, that also showed tattoos of the Punisher logo and the words “Deus Vult”, on his inner right arm on Odnoklassniki in March 2022.
The same Punisher logo and “Deus Vult” tattoos can be seen in various photographs and videos on his OK page, including an August 2022 video of him at a shooting range.
Notice the left hand tattoo in the image immediately above that matches earlier images from the OK profile and photos taken from the scene of the shooting.
In the image below where Garcia’s face is visible, the same Punisher and part of the “Deus Vult” tattoo can again be seen in the on his inner left arm.
Other images showed a selection of more benign tattoos. These included a shoulder tattoo of the state of Texas and references to the city of Fort Worth, Texas.
The Nazi tattoos appear consistent with much of the writings on the OK account.
Despite online speculation that the shooter was a member of drug cartels, there is no evidence to suggest that this was the case.
The OK account also shared an assortment of photographs showing various people dressed in Nazi attire with the caption: “My kind of people”.
However, these images were all from external sources and at no point were any of these posts described as being of the shooter himself.
Jake Godin of Scripps News contributed to this article.
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