EL PASO, TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said he’s distraught by the news of a mass-shooting in his hometown of El Paso.

Police responded to an active shooter scene early afternoon at the Cielo Vista Mall near Interstate 10, and advised people to stay away from the area.

Shortly after, Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said a suspect — later identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen — was in custody and there was no longer a danger to the public.

Photo by Joel Angel JUAREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOEL ANGEL JUAREZ/AFP/Getty Images

Former Texas Congressman O’Rourke — who was at a candidate forum in Las Vegas when the news broke — appeared to be shaken up.

He told reporters that he had spoken by phone to El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, the city’s sheriff and U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar. He said they were still learning details about the attack.

O’Rourke said he had also called his wife before taking the stage and said the shooting shatters “any illusion that we have that progress is inevitable” on tackling gun violence.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Democrat said he’d heard early reports that the shooter might have had a military-style weapon, saying we need to keep that on the battlefield and not bring it into our communities.

“We have to find some reason for optimism and hope or else we consign ourselves to a future where nearly 40,000 people are year will lose their lives to gun violence and I cannot accept that,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke has cancelled his prison tour visit to California’s San Quentin State Prison on Monday, to return home to be with his family.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)