Saturday, November 22, 2008

southcenter mall shooting

I just heard that's there's been a shooting at the southcenter mall in TUKWILA, Wash.

I'm hearing that police began evacuating Southcenter Mall in Tukwila after a young man shot and seriously wounded two other young men inside the mall Saturday afternoon.

Police spokesman Mike Murphy told KING-TV that police believed the shooter, armed with a pistol, might still be in the mall and officers were conducting a store-by-store search for him.

The assailant and the two victims were all in their late teens or early 20s. The two victims were rushed to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center.

Murphy said no other people were injured.

SWAT teams from all over Puget Sound converged on the mall to help search for the suspect, who is believed to have gotten into an altercation with the two victims.

Witness Kayla Shaw says she was eating lunch when she heard gunshots. She says she saw someone being handcuffed before she evacuated.

Update: 1 person has died as a result of the shooting.

Police said Saturday night that the shooting of two young men, one of them fatally, inside the Southcenter Mall may have been gang related.

"It's a possibility," police spokesman Mike Murphy, an officer, told The Associated Press minutes after officers completed a nearly six-hour sweep of the mall at 9:35 p.m. without finding a trace of the shooter, described as another young man.

But Murphy said police anticipated identifying the shooter "soon" and then making an arrest.

The mall was jammed with "thousands" of pre-Thanksgiving Day shoppers when the shooting occurred about 3:45 p.m., Murphy said.

The shooting victims were taken to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, where one of them died. A hospital spokesman said Saturday night the second victim was in critical condition.

Murphy said the gunman used a pistol and fired multiple shots. He said at least four or five people had been detained and questioned about the shooting, but none of them was the shooter. He said some of them had been released. He said some were "witnesses."

Murphy said the mall planned to reopen on schedule on Sunday morning. The store's hours on Sunday are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST.

As police searched for the shooter Saturday night, they allowed store employees and customers remaining in the mall to exit the mall in groups, Murphy said.

After the search was completed, Murphy said the assailant "must have got out with the crowd."

Chauncey Williams, a soldier from Fort Lewis, said he witnessed the shooting. He said he was coming out a store when he saw two men arguing and then saw one pull out a gun and start firing.

"I've got the heebie jeebies," Williams told The Seattle Times. "It's like I'm back in Iraq or something."

A customer, 51-year-old Mark Nickels of Seattle, described the chaos that erupted after the shooting.

"Everybody just stopped," Nickels said. "Everybody thought something fell. Then a second or two later, there was a second shot and then everybody scattered. People were running to the (exits) or running to the stores to hide."

Christine Pierce, 18, of Seattle, said she is a regular shopper at Southcenter and showed up Saturday to visit her sister, who works at the mall.

"They need tighter security," Pierce told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

In March, a 21-year-old man was wounded in gunfire between several people outside the mall. In September 2005, two men were shot and killed inside a car parked at the mall during what appeared to be a drug deal.

No comments: