UPDATE: CNN reports that the 21-year-old man who was shot and killed by police does not appear to have fired the shots during the altercation described below, and the true mall shooting suspect is still at large.
Shots rang out at the Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover, Alabama, just outside of Birmingham on Thursday night as shoppers flocked for early Black Friday deals after Thanksgiving dinner. According to reports, just before 10 p.m. a 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old man became involved in a physical altercation near the Footaction store, and the 21-year-old pulled out a gun and shot the younger man twice in the torso as shoppers panicked and ran.
The gunman attempted to flee but was spotted by two uniformed police officers, and one of them drew their weapon and shot and killed him. The officers were on the scene thanks to beefed up mall security for the holiday shopping spree, and may have prevented more violence since several bystanders were seen with guns likewise drawn.
In addition to the injured 18-year-old, who was taken to a nearby hospital in serious condition, a 12-year-old girl was shot in the crossfire. Although it’s still unclear exactly who shot her. The girl has since been reported as being in stable condition, and alert and talking.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case per the request of the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.
One bystander posted a photo of terrified mall patrons huddled in an American Eagle stockroom while the incident unfolded.
After an investigation, the mall reopened at 7 a.m. and the incident did not seem to deter shoppers who flocked back to the shopping center just nine hours after the violence erupted.
(Via ABC News)