Black Friday shoppers scrambled for cover when a shooting broke out at a mall in North Carolina, leaving three people wounded, including a 10-year-old, according to local officials.
The shooting happened just before 3:30 p.m. inside The Streets at Southpoint in Durham during a fight between two groups of people who knew each other, Police Chief Patrice Andrews said in a press conference.
One of the victims was a 10-year-old child struck when a bullet ricocheted, Andrews said. The child was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police didn’t immediately release information on the conditions of the other two people shot.
Three other people were injured as shoppers rushed to evacuate following the terrifying incident, the chief said. They were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Those involved in the fight that led to the shooting immediately fled, according to police.
One suspect was in custody and Andrews vowed that “several arrests will be made” in connection to the incident. One weapon was recovered from the scene.
Andrews said she was certain the incident was “absolutely not” a planned attack, and said that there are no future threats to the public.
“This is not a situation where someone came into the mall and indiscriminately began firing,” Andrews told reporters, adding, “The shootings in this city have got to stop.”
A bystander described “mass hysteria” as holiday shoppers ducked into stores or ran for the exits after the shots echoed through the mall.
“I just hear shots firing, and as soon as that happened, everybody just kind of turned around and started running and screaming,” Angela Lloyd, who was doing some Christmas shopping with relatives, told The Associated Press.
“Some people were running into stores, some people were almost crawling into stores. Just like mass hysteria.”
Mary Moore, who walks with a cane, told local outlet WRAL-TV that she was at the mall “trying to do my Black Friday shopping when I heard them ‘Pop! Pop! Pop!’”
“I had at least gotten my clothes,” she said in an interview with The News and Observer. “Some people left their bags. I just grabbed my stuff and ran.”
WRAL reporter Aaron Thomas was in the mall shopping in the 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 lock down and they locked the doors,” said Thomas, who tweeted about the incident from inside the mall.
An employee of Sunglass Hut described taking care of customers when the mayhem broke out.
“We were working with customers, and then all we saw was people starting to run and screaming, and then everybody was just starting to panic,” the staffer said.
Police evacuated the mall after the shooting, resulting in a major traffic backup as thousands tried to leave for their homes, WRAL reported.
With Post wires