ALLEN, Texas — Funerals have begun for the eight victims of the mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets. And mall management told WFAA that the stores there will remain closed, at the very least, until all of the funerals are over.
Services are being held Thursday night for Cindy and Kyu Cho and their son, James. The extended family requested the services at New Song Church Grace Chapel remain private, as will be their burial on Friday.
The family of Aishwarya Thatikonda said that her body has already been flown to India for burial ceremonies there in accordance with her family’s customs.
A celebration of life service for mall security guard Christian LaCour, who has been credited with saving several lives that day before he was gunned down, are scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen.
Services for sisters Daniela and Sofia Mendoza have not been shared with WFAA at this time, nor have funeral plans been announced for Elio Cumana-Rivas.
On Thursday, the fifth day after the shooting, the memorial at the south end of the outlet mall continued to grow. A new sign appeared Thursday morning, written by a girl named Sarah.
Written to Sofia Mendoza, it says “Dear Sofia I am so sad for your death. I am also in 2nd grade. And I know that you are in heaven now. I heard heaven is beautiful. I asked god to give you all your favorite toys so you can play all day long. I will be praying for you and your sister.”
A group of Allen High School students, wearing shirts with the words “protect children not guns” and “it ends with us, no guns in schools,” sat in front of the memorial staring at the eight crosses and the flowers, stuffed animals and messages that thousands have left.
“We shouldn’t have to. We should not have to know their names and know that they’re no longer here with us,” said Allen High School junior Kamila Ponce. “Especially the children. They didn’t even get their life started and they’re not even here now.”
“It’s reality checking. It’s the 199th shooting and we’ve only had 127 days in the year. That’s awful. It shouldn’t be like that,” said Allen High School junior Quinn Cobey. “I shouldn’t even know these kids’ names. I shouldn’t have to know their story. They should be living. But this continually is happening over and over and over again.”
Management for Allen Premium Outlets said in a statement: “As part of the Allen community and out of respect for the victim’s families and everyone else affected by this heinous and senseless act, we are not planning on reopening the center until all services and funerals have concluded and the healing process has started. In the meantime, we are facilitating counseling services for our employees and our retailers and making preparations to re-open."
Many of the retailers, including Under Armour and H&M, told WFAA that they are continuing to pay their employees’ wages even though the stores remain closed.