Suspect in Custody After Man Shot at Oklahoma City Mall

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
December 20, 2019US News
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Suspect in Custody After Man Shot at Oklahoma City Mall
Bystanders watch as police clear Penn Square Mall following a shooting on Dec. 19, 2019, in Oklahoma City. (Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo)

OKLAHOMA CITY—A man suspected of shooting another man during an argument inside an Oklahoma City mall, prompting frightened shoppers to hide following the gunfire, has been jailed after surrendering to police, authorities said Friday.

Capt. Larry Withrow said Elizha Sanders, 24, is in custody for the Thursday shooting that wounded one man inside Penn Square Mall.

Sgt. Kris Gellenbeck said earlier that investigators identified the suspect Thursday night and, after speaking with his father, he met officers overnight in the nearby community of Moore, where he was taken into custody.

Online jail records show Sanders was booked just before 2:30 a.m. Friday on a complaint of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, but do not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Penn Square Mall shooting 2
People mill around in the parking lot at Penn Square Mall after police respond to a report of a shooting on Dec. 19, 2019, in Oklahoma City. (Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo)

Online court records do not show that formal charges have been filed.

Thursday’s shooting forced Penn Square Mall to close as police spent hours searching stores and clearing out shoppers.

Withrow said video footage from the mall was found showing the suspect leaving just after the fight.

Police said that the victim was in critical but stable condition at a hospital after being shot in the chest.

Police said the suspect, wearing sweatpants but no shirt, was seen fleeing from the area near the Foot Locker shoe store. Withrow said the shooting happened in the Foot Locker.

After the shooting, officers searched the mall for the suspect, and cleared out shoppers who had taken cover.

“When the shooting started, there were bunch of people hid in closets, hid in back rooms, locked the stores,” Gellenbeck said. “So they’re having to go store to store to clear the civilians out and look for the suspect.”

Withrow said the mall was to reopen Friday morning.

Penn Square Mall shooting 3
Oklahoma City Police Captain Larry Withrow talks with the media in the parking lot of Penn Square Mall on Dec. 19, 2019, in Oklahoma City. (Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo)

The shooting came amid the busy holiday shopping season, just days before Christmas. Those standing in the mall’s parking lot after the shooting included a person dressed as Santa Claus.

Amari Lafevers, who works at J.C. Penney in the mall, told The Oklahoman that she was completing a sale at the cash register when people started running and saying “Shots fired! Shots fired!”

“You know it’s kind of surreal because you don’t really know what to do in that moment,” she said. “It’s just you don’t really think it will happen to us until it does.”

Among those evacuated from the mall were members of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had been at a private movie screening. A team spokesman says the team was never in any danger.

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