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Arrest made in killing of 8-year-old boy at Alabama mall; police release photos of other suspects

Hoover, Alabama, police announced Sunday that they had made an arrest in a shooting at the state’s largest mall last week that left an 8-year-old boy dead and three other people wounded.

Royta Giles Jr was shot in the head at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover on July 3 and was pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, as CrimeOnline previously reported. The other three victims — including a juvenile girl — were treated and released that night.

Hoover police said Montez Moses Miracle Coleman, 22, has been charged with capital murder and three counts of 2nd degree assault. He’s being held in the Jefferson County jail with no bond.

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Coleman was taken into custody shortly after the incident on Friday, found running through the parking deck of the Hyatt Regency Hotel with a firearm. Investigators determined that he had gotten into an argument with a group of males near the food court on the first level of the mall. He allegedly pulled a 5.56 caliber pistol from his backpack during the argument and fired toward the group.

“Several of them were armed with handguns and immediately returned fire,” police said. “We believe that no one involved in the initial argument was injured and all four of the victims in this case were innocent by-standers caught in the crossfire.”

Police released surveillance photos of several other suspects in the shooting.

Royta’s mother, who asked not to be identified, told AL.com that she, her three children, and the children’s stepfather were waiting to get into a child’s clothing store in the mall. They were waiting for one more person to leave the store so their group could enter (because of COVID-19 restrictions) when shots rang out.

“We heard the gunshots. and I grabbed them and we hit the ground,‘’ she said. “When we all got up, he was the only one who didn’t get up.”

“To the people who did this, if I could say anything to them, it’s I don’t care about justice or anything like that,‘’ she said. “I wouldn’t say I’m religious, I would say I’m more spiritual, and the person who did this is going to have to answer for that whether it is to whoever they pray to or if it’s the streets.”

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[Featured image: Surveillance photo/Hoover Police Department]