Editor’s Note: This post contains graphic descriptions of the shooting’s aftermath.
A veteran and former police officer described the haunting scenes he found when he arrived at the outlet mall in Allen, Texas, Saturday.
The aftermath of the mass shooting there was “horrific,” Steven Spainhouer told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on Sunday. The former Army officer said he wouldn’t wish it upon anyone to see or experience what he did.
Spainhouer said he was planning to meet his son, who works at the H&M store at the outlet mall, for lunch. His son called to tell him about the active shooter and that he was sheltered in the break room at the store.
Spainhouer drove to the outlet mall and said when he showed up, he saw many people fleeing the scene and counted seven bodies on the ground.
He rushed up to different victims to check for a pulse, and said he witnessed one woman who had “nothing left of her face or head, it was gone.”
Spainhouer performed chest compressions on another victim, who coughed up blood and then died, he told CNN.
Then he saw a young child who crawled out from underneath one of the victims and was “caked with blood from head to toe,” Spainhouer said. The child kept saying that his mother was hurt.
The father, who has personal and professional experience handling firearms, said the horror he found at the mall will repeat itself if lawmakers don't limit the access of certain weapons to the public.
“I love guns. I love (the) Second Amendment. I own guns. I teach people how to shoot guns. But we don’t need these high-capacity weapons on our streets," Spainhouer said. “All the prayers and thoughts and well wishes in the world are great in time of tragedy, but if you don’t change our gun laws and put red flag laws in place and take these high-capacity weapons off the street, it’s going to happen again."
Spainhouer added that both he and his son will receive counseling for what they witnessed Saturday.
Allen police subsequently disputed parts of Spainhouer's account, noting "inconsistencies" between his media interviews and the facts of the investigation. The department said it conducted a follow-up interview with Spainhouer and "determined that [he] is not a credible incident witness."
According to the police department, Spainhouer did not perform CPR, and did not move a deceased mother who was covering a child who survived the shooting.
In response, Spainhouer stood by his account, said he was "hurt and disappointed," and clarified that "a small child pulled himself from under a victim and I assisted him to a safe space away from the area."
This article was updated on May 16 to reflect the Allen Police Department's statement disputing parts of Steven Spainhouer's eyewitness account — and Spainhouer's response to the police press release.