A teenager was killed in a Friday shooting at the Mall of America – the country’s largest mall – where patrons ran for cover on Christmas Eve amid a lockdown, police said.
Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges identified the fatality as a 19-year-old man. In addition to the deceased, a passerby was shot in his jacket during the incident at the Nordstrom store in the mall.
The police chief said that there was apparently an altercation between two groups of rioters and at one point one of them pulled out a gun and fired several times. The incident lasted for about 30 seconds.
Hodges asked the gunman and others involved in the fight to turn themselves in to the police.
“We’re going to catch them, we’re going to lock them up and they’ll have their orange uniforms,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time before that happens.”
He also asked people to avoid helping suspects evade arrest.
“Whoever helps these guys, I mean if they buy them some Happy Meal burgers and fries, and if they give them a ride,” said the clearly upset police chief, “we’ll give them their going to close together.”
Hodges said the mall is scheduled to reopen on Saturday but the Nordstrom store will remain closed.
Since it opened in 1992, the mall has been a tourist destination and a gathering place for people in the community.
The mall prohibits people from carrying weapons and customers are usually not forced to pass through a metal detector.
The mall said in October that it was testing a “weapon detection system” at one of its entrances.
Hodges said the mall is continually re-evaluating its security measures, such as the addition of metal detectors.
However, he added, “If we have an incident where someone decides to pull out a gun and shoot another person with complete disregard for human life, I don’t think we can do much to stop that.” can do.”
Police have not identified the death, but Hodges said he and Bloomington Mayor Tim Busey spoke with the family of the deceased Friday night.
Hodges said, “The family, I really feel sorry for them.” “It’s their last week before Christmas and now they have to bury a loved one.”
Footage from surveillance cameras at the mall shows a brawl between two groups, between five and nine people in total; The police chief said that an exchange of blows ensued until someone pulled out a gun and opened fire.
“We don’t know why or what happened,” he said.
A nearby Bloomington police officer – one of 16 assigned to the mall on Friday – heard shots fired around 7:50 p.m. The agent took unsuccessful measures to save the victim’s life.
The total closure of the mall lasted for about an hour and the place later announced in a tweet that customers were being sent overseas.
Videos posted on social media showed customers demanding to hide in stores and malls asking people to find shelter. Some videos showed customers running away after hearing a loud noise.
The mall, located in a suburb near Minneapolis, was completely shut down in August after a shooting in which some customers ran for cover; And two people were apparently injured during a brawl last New Year’s Eve.