Three people were injured, including a child, after gunfire broke out at a North Carolina mall on Black Friday.
The shooting occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. at The Streets of Southpoint, a shopping center in Durham, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Patrice Andrews, the city’s police chief, told reporters at a press conference that two groups of people exchanged gunfire during an apparent dispute.
Among the injured is a 10-year-old child who was struck by a bullet that had ricocheted. The child has been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to WTVD-TV.
Authorities have not publicly released the conditions of the other two individuals who were shot.
The gunfire prompted panicked shoppers to run for cover, injuring three additional people as they rushed to evacuate the mall. Those individuals were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Authorities recovered at least one weapon at the scene and arrested one suspect but said others involved in the shooting fled the area. Andrews told reporters that “several arrests will be made” and said the shooting had not been planned, according to WRAL-TV.
“This is not a situation where someone came into the mall and indiscriminately began firing. The shootings in this city have got to stop,” Andrews said at the press conference.
I’m currently locked in a store with other shoppers due to a lockdown situation in Streets at Southpoint Mall in #Durham.
We’re waiting to hear from security what prompted this situation.
— Aaron Thomas (@WRALAaron) November 26, 2021
One shopper told the Associated Press that fleeing shoppers sought safety in stores and exits when they heard the shots.
“I just hear shots firing, and as soon as that happened, everybody just kind of turned around and started running and screaming,” Angela Lloyd told the AP. “Some people were running into stores, some people were almost crawling into stores. Just like mass hysteria.”
Mary Moore described the sounds to WRAL-TV as “Pop! Pop! Pop!” She told the local newspaper, the Raleigh News & Observer, “I had at least gotten my clothes. Some people left their bags. I just grabbed my stuff and ran.”
Sam Zhang tweeted that he was entering the mall when he encountered people fleeing. “Was about to enter when i saw a stampede of people running out and yelling shooter,” Zhang wrote in a Twitter post.
WRAL-TV reporter Aaron Thomas happened to be at the shopping center when the incident occurred. He said he was in an Express store when “all of a sudden, I see this swarm of people running.”
“At that point, it’s like you don’t know what to do, do you run out or do you stay in the store and try to hunker down? We did lockdown and they locked the doors,” he told the television station.
The mall was scheduled to open back up on Saturday morning, the News & Observer reports.
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[Feature Photo: The Streets at Southpoint/Google Maps 2021]