Black Friday shoppers were forced to flee after a gunman opened fire at a busy shopping mall on Thursday night (November 22).
The shooting happened at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama shortly before 10pm, after a 21-year-old man got into an altercation with an 18-year-old boy.
The shooter was shot dead by police after he attempted to fled as a result of injuring the 18-year-old male and a 12-year-old girl, authorities said.
Videos of the aftermath of the shooting show the chaos that ensued:
Someone posted this shooting in the mall at river riverchase Galleria in Hoover Alabama on Thanksgiving pic.twitter.com/3WczyXqu7A
— NIKKI (@braxtonthings) November 23, 2018
It is understood that the altercation took place on the second level of the mall, near the Footaction and JC Penney stores.
Although it is not known whether the two males knew each other, or whether the fight started as a result of shopping, police have confirmed their belief that only the shooter was armed.
As reported by CNN, Hoover police Captain Gregg Rector said:
We do not believe at this point the 18-year-old was armed.
— James Spann (@spann) November 23, 2018
According to police, the gunman shot the teenager twice in the torso, before running away. An armed police officer who was working security at the mall, reportedly confronted the gunman as he ran away from the scene.
It is at this point that the 21-year-old man was fatally shot. Police captain Rector added that a 12-year-old girl, who was a bystander, was also shot once – but it is unclear by whom.
Both the teenager and young girl were taken to hospital as a result of their injuries. According to CNN, Rector said the girl had surgery and ‘does not have life-threatening injuries’.
Her condition was stable this morning (November 23). However, police said the 18-year-old was in a serious condition when the ambulance took him to hospital.
"From the time that shooting took place, they engaged and it was safe within seconds that it happened," @HooverPD Chief Nick Derzis said about the response by officers to a Thanksgiving night shooting at the Riverchase Galleria. "You don't see that too often." pic.twitter.com/OUJzxxRnUG
— #WVTM13 (@WVTM13) November 23, 2018
Ryan Spann, an eyewitness who was at the mall when the shooting happened, spoke to ABC 33/40 about the aftermath:
Before we knew it, an entire wave of people, I mean full sprint, I’d never seen anything like it. Everyone was just yelling to run… You’re running for your life, y’know you can’t think about any of that. We were running out of the building and we had to go back around and go towards where the shooter actually was, because that’s where we’d parked.
And we were running right by one of the parking decks and a group of girls came out and they looked back towards the door which was opening, and they started shrieking, y’know, screaming in agony. And I thought the guy was gonna walk out right there and I was going to get shot.
— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) November 23, 2018
As reported by CNN, police say the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave while the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigates the incident.
Police captain Rector continued:
We were fortunate that that Hoover officer was there where he needed to be, and we believe at this point that maybe he prevented further injuries.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).