Video footage from a mall in Alabama shows shoppers fleeing after gunshots were fired on Thanksgiving.
A 21-year-old suspect brandished a firearm at Riverchase Galleria after getting into a physical altercation with an 18-year-old male near Footaction and shot the victim.
A 12-year-old female was also struck at some point.
Police officers told WBRC that the shooting suspect fled and was killed by two nearby officers. Those officers have been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation into the shooting of the suspect.
The victims were rushed to nearby hospitals; the 18-year-old had serious injuries while the younger victim was alert and talking, officers said.
“The Hoover police officer actually was running to the scene, he heard gunshots, he was obviously very near the scene, he actually shot and killed the person who injured the other person,’’ Hoover Police Capt. Gregg Rector told AL.com.
Rector noted that the police department had extra officers in the area due to the holiday and had a plan in place for difficult situations.
“We will be looking at every possible means to gather the evidence of what happened. We want it to paint a very clear picture of what happened tonight,” he added.
“The Galleria has been here about 33 years now and I could probably count the number of people who have actually been shot on this property on one or two hands. It’s one of the safest shopping destinations. Unfortunately, if you get thousands and thousands of people together in any venue, occasionally you’re going to have violence,” Rector said.
Several shoppers drew their guns to try to shoot whoever had fired the gunshots but didn’t end up being able to confront the shooter.
We are devastated by the incident that happened tonight in our shopping center. We are working closely with the Hoover Police Department. While there is no current danger to our community, we will remain closed until further notice.
— Riverchase Galleria (@ShopRiverchase) November 23, 2018
Shots were fired in the Riverchase Galleria shortly before 10pm. There are known injuries, some due to the panic that ensued. But there is no official word from police on injuries/fatalities, or if the scene is secure… these shots are from Bill Castle with ABC 33/40 pic.twitter.com/IiMbpZsSnp
— James Spann (@spann) November 23, 2018
‘I Heard Bang, Bang’
Witnesses said people quickly fled the scene, as seen in the video at the top of the page, when the gunshots went off.
“I was at a kiosk buying some jewelry right outside the food court and right as I was about to pay, I heard this ‘bang,’ and … you’re thinking ‘Okay, probably not,’ and then I heard ‘bang, bang’ and everybody started screaming and running as fast as they could,” one witness told WBRC. “It was very scary.”
Another shopper, Lexi Joiner, said she was shopping with her mother when approximately six or seven shots were fired. They were ordered into a nearby supply closet with other shoppers to take cover.
“It was terrifying,’’ Joiner told AL.com.
Another shopper, a high school senior, said that he went to his car and heard tires squealing as people fled the scene.
“This was my first Black Friday,” he said. “I knew it would be crazy, just not this crazy.”
Riverchase Galleria said in a statement that it was working with the police.
“We are devastated by the incident that happened tonight in our shopping center. We are working closely with the Hoover Police Department and are grateful for their swift action to contain the situation. While there is no current danger to our community, the shopping center will remain closed until further notice.”
Video credit: Paige Lee Barnett via Storyful