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'Vote them out' is the battle cry for protesters in Allen after mass shooting

Protesters rally in Allen's Green Park to speak out against gun violence after a gunman killed eight people in a mass shooting at a nearby outlet mall.
Caroline Love
Protesters rally in Allen's Green Park to speak out against gun violence after a gunman killed eight people in a mass shooting at a nearby outlet mall.

Allen’s Green Park was packed on Saturday with protesters from all over Collin County calling for action on gun violence — a week after a gunman killed eight people at a nearby outlet mall.

Families brought their chubby-legged toddlers and panting pooches to a Moms Demand Action rally at the park’s pavilion. The group advocates against gun violence.

Volunteers with the group wore red t-shirts and passed out bottled water from a cooler to ease the heat’s impact. And tents were set up to help attendees register to vote.

Texas State Rep. Mihaela Plesa encouraged people during her speech to vote out Republican politicians. She was the first Democrat to be elected to a state House seat in Collin County in decades.

“They have not passed any bill to keep us safe,” Plesa said. “As a matter of fact, they keep passing bad bills that would make us have these things happen over and over again.”

The protesters chanted “vote them out” several times at the rally.

More than half of Collin County voted for Governor Greg Abbott in 2022. But Democrats do have some momentum in the county — Plesa was one of three Democrats elected there in 2022. Her district includes parts of Allen. No Democrats won Collin County in 2020.

Katherine Vargas from Plano said people in both parties support certain gun reforms, like raising the age to buy semi-automatic rifles in Texas from 18 to 21. A University of Texas at Austin survey found that 76% of Texans supported doing so — but the bill to do that died in the Texas legislature after missing a key deadline.

Vargas said there’s a reason politicians aren’t supporting gun reforms.

“Our lawmakers are beholden to the gun lobby, and extremist and unwilling to put the lives of our children before that,” she said.

Three of the victims at the Allen premium outlets shooting were children. The youngest was three-year-old James Cho. His brother, six-year-old William Cho, was the only one in his family of four who survived the shooting. Daniela Mendoza, 11, and her 8-year-old sister Sofia were both killed at the shooting.

The names of the victims weren’t announced until a few days after the shooting. Lauren Simpson from McKinney said she worried that one of the victims could’ve been her five-year-old son’s classmate – she spent the day after the massacre searching Facebook to find out more information about who was killed.

The week after, she went to the protest at Green Park.

“I don't know what it will take to get something done,” Simpson said. “But I think the first step is people showing up and doing this.”

Got a tip? Email Caroline Love at

Caroline Love is a Report For Americacorps member for KERA News.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gifttoday. Thank you.

Caroline Love covers Collin County for KERA and is a member of the Report for America corps. Previously, Caroline covered daily news at Houston Public Media. She has a master's degree from Northwestern University with an emphasis on investigative social justice journalism. During grad school, she reported three feature stories for KERA. She also has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas Christian University and interned with KERA's Think in 2019.