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'He always cared about everyone': Family, friends remember those lost in Allen shooting

Community members bring flowers to the memorial for the victims of Saturday’s shooting at Allen Premium Outlets.
Yfat Yossifor
Community members bring flowers to the memorial for the victims of Saturday’s shooting Monday, May 8, 2023, at Allen Premium Outlets in Allen.

UPDATED Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 2:43 p.m. CT

Family members and friends are remembering the victims of this weekend’s shooting at Allen Premium Outlets.

A gunman killed eight people and wounded several others May 6 in the second-deadliest mass shooting of 2023.

Here is what we know about the victims:

Christian LaCour

Christian LaCour, 20, was a security guard at the mall in the Dallas suburb. (Texas DPS listed LaCour’s age as 23, but his family and other law enforcement identified him as being 20 years old.)

Facebook indicates his relatives include Sandra Montgomery, who called him a beautiful grandson with a beautiful soul. “I was so proud of him and so glad I got to see him 2 weeks ago,” she wrote.

Citaly Ramirez, a 22-year-old restaurant employee at the Allen Outlet, knew and liked LaCour since she started working there. She was outside in the parking lot when she heard bullets outside and knew almost immediately what it was.

She told KERA’s Toluwani Osibamowo that she saw LaCour outside too.

“He always cared about everyone,” Ramirez said, “He was walking, and all of a sudden he stops. His face turns pale. And he starts running. And then a few seconds later, we heard bullets, and I kept hoping it wasn’t him. But I saw his body on the ground, next to the shooter.”

Ramirez has had trouble sleeping ever since. And even when she does, she’s haunted by a nightmare.

“I just felt so numb,” Ramirez said through tears. “Every time I close my eyes I just saw Chris’s body on the ground.”

LaCour's family hosted a celebration of life ceremony at Cottonwood Creek Church Monday, May 15 at 11 a.m. LaCour's mother encouraged attendees to wear jeans and a T-shirt showing off their favorite band, movie or other interests rather than black because those things brought her son joy.

"Christian was all about comfort and encouraging others to express their true selves," Tracye Norris LaCour wrote in a Facebook post.

Aishwarya Thatikonda

A friend of Aishwarya Thatikonda remembers her as "hard working, diligent, honest, and very sincere in her work."
Courtesy Srinivas Chaluvadi
A friend of Aishwarya Thatikonda remembers her as "hard working, diligent, honest, and very sincere in her work."

Aishwarya Thatikonda, 27, was an engineer who worked for Perfect General Contractors, LLC, in Frisco. In a letter, her father, a judge in India, wrote that Thatikonda “has been missing and not in contact with us since the shootout incident happened yesterday at Premier outlet mall.

“Herewith I am authorizing my local representative in USA -Treasurer TANA (Telegu Association of North America) to liaison with authorities to get information of my daughter Ms. Aishwarya Thatikonda.

We hope she is safe and doing well. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Find attached copy of her passport.”

Srinivas Chaluvadi, a coworker and friend of Thatikonda, said in an email to KERA she came to the U.S. “with a dream to make a career, build a family, own a home and live forever in Dallas.”

She would have turned 27 on May 18.

“We just completed a big project and were having plans to celebrate her birthday on 18th but destiny had different plans,” Chaluvadi wrote.

Three members of a single family

Cho Kyu Song, 37, Kang Shin Young, 35 and their three-year-old-son, James, were confirmed among the victims by Houston’s South Korean consulate, and reported by the Dallas Morning News.

The couple’s six-year-old son, William, survived, said a letter from New Song Church of Carrollton, and reported by Yonhap News Agency in South Korea.

“William just celebrated his 6th birthday 4 days prior,” a GoFundMe for the family reads. “An afternoon that should have been filled with light, love and celebration unfortunately was cut short by another mass shooting massacre that left 8 victims dead.”

Daniela and Sofia Mendoza

The Wylie Independent School District confirmed in a letter to parents Monday that sisters Daniela and Sofia Mendoza both were killed. Daniela was in 4th grade and Sofia was in 2nd grade at Cox Elementary. Their mother, Ilda, is in critical condition, according to Wylie ISD.

“Daniela and Sofia were the kindest, most thoughtful students with smiles that could light up any room,” Principal Krista Wilson wrote. “Our hearts are broken and words cannot express how deeply they will be missed.”

Wylie Superintendent David Vinson says the district has a crisis team to support students.

“We love your babies, we love them so much,” Vinson wrote in a letter to parents. “Our love for our kiddos and each other will get us through this. Daniela and Sofia will not be forgotten. Hug your kids, and tell them you love them.”

The girls' mother, Ilda, was injured in the shooting but has since been released from Medical City McKinney. In a statement obtained by WFAA, Ilda Mendoza and her husband Alex Mendoza wrote they were grateful for the community's support as they dealt with the "unimaginable loss" of their daughters.

"Sofia and Daniela were our entire world," the statement reads. "They were incredibly loved since we knew of their existence. The only thing that gives our grieving hearts peace is that we know one day we will be together again."

The parents also thanked Medical City staff, first responders and Wylie ISD.

The community will host a vigil in honor of the girls at 6:30 p.m. May 16 at The Cross Church in Wylie.

The Texas Department of Public Safety on Monday also confirmed Elio Cumana-Rivas, 32, was among the victims of Saturday’s shooting.

Medical City Healthcare wrote in a May 15 statement four survivors are still recovering in the hospital.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.