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State Fair of Texas evacuated after shooting, one suspect in custody

Police motorcycles block the entrance to the State Fair of Texas on Oct. 14, 2023. The fairgrounds were evacuated after reports of a shooter at the fair.
Kaysie Ellingson
The Dallas Police Department reported a shooting at the State Fair of Texas Saturday night, which prompted an evacuation.

A shooting at the State Fair of Texas Saturday night prompted officials to order an evacuation.

Fair officials issued an emergency order on social media shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday.

"The park is being evacuated," it stated. "Please avoid the area."

Fairgoers ran for cover after the sound of shots rang out or looked for a place to hide.

Theresa Creevy was at the State Fair with her husband, two daughters and mother. They were walking out of one of the exhibition halls near the midway when they saw people running toward them. Some of them yelled there was a shooter and that they should hide.

“Everyone’s running and there was no alarm, no sound from the police, nothing over the intercom. Nothing,” Creevy said. “It was just a rush of people.”

Creevy and her family went back inside the building and headed toward a different exit. She said she and her husband heard what they thought sounded like a couple of gunshots. They hid inside a theater behind a stage until someone told them it was safe to go out.

That’s when they heard an announcement in English and Spanish to shelter in place. Creevy said it was confusing because a lot of people were running out, not staying in place.

On Saturday, she had her mom in a wheelchair to help her get around the fairgrounds.

“My biggest concern was my mom,” Creevy said. “She is 80-something years old and so I wanted to make sure that she’s safe because she’s not as mobile as we are.”

She said her 21-year-old daughter was visibly shaken by the experience. She’d told some of her friends and family members that she loved them fearing those would be her last words.

“It was like a sea of people running so we tried to go out the front — but cops were yelling to turn around and hide and over the intercom," said Kjersten Funk, another fairgoer. "They kept announcing that there was an active shooter and to hide in place and stay out of his line of sight.

”The heartbreaking part was watching the kids crying," Funk said. "Because this is now just an everyday part of their life and they can’t even go to the fair with their parents and be safe.”

Dallas Police Department Sr. Cpl. Melinda Gutierrez said that at about 7:45 p.m. Saturday, officers "responded to an active shooter call in the Tower Building."

"The preliminary investigation determined that one man shot at another man," she said. "Three people were shot. All have non-life-threatening injuries."

Gutierrez said the suspect ran from the scene but officers were able to locate him and take him into custody. Police recovered a gun.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Dallas City Council member Adam Bazaldua said the shooting took place at the food court. That's located in the Tower Building.

“(The shooting) sparked from a conflict between two people who knew each other,” Bazaldua wrote.

The fair was closed early on Oct. 14 last year after some fairgoers had claimed on social media that they had heard gunshots. Some fairgoers began running out of the park.

But police later determined that no shots were fired.

Got a tip? Email Stella M. Chávez at and Nathan Collins at

You can follow Stella on Twitter @stellamchavez and Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

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

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.
Nathan Collins is the Dallas Accountability Reporter for KERA. Collins joined the station after receiving his master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was a professional musician.