COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — Ten people have been shot dead and two others injured in a shooting at a shopping center in South Carolina’s capital that authorities do not consider a random attack.
Three people who had firearms were arrested in connection with Saturday afternoon’s shooting at the Columbiana Center, Columbia Police Chief WH “Skip” Holbrook said. He said that at least one of these three people had fired a weapon.
“We don’t believe it was random,” Holbrook said. “We believe they knew each other and something led to the shootings.”
Authorities said no deaths were reported, but eight of the victims were taken to hospital. Of those eight, two were in critical condition and six were in stable condition, Holbrook said. The victims ranged in age from 15 to 73, he said.
The mall was being evacuated store by store, and police urged anyone still sheltering inside to call 911 so authorities could find them.
On Saturday evening, workers from a few stores huddled in the near-empty parking lot said they didn’t hear or see anything during the shooting, but followed the mall’s alert system and were evacuated by the police. police soon after. They said they had waited for hours since police let them inside to collect their car keys and belongings so they could leave. They declined to give their names, citing company policies.
“Today’s isolated and senseless act of violence is extremely upsetting and our hearts go out to all those affected,” Columbiana Center said in a statement. “We are grateful for the quick response and continued support from our security team and law enforcement partners.”
The shooting is the latest in a string of shootings at or near malls across the country.
A 15-year-old boy was shot in the head on Wednesday outside the Atlantic Terminal Mall in Brooklyn. His injuries were not believed to be life threatening. The NYPD says he was with a group of boys outside the mall when they got into a fight with a second group of boys.
A Southern California shoe store owner mistakenly shot a 9-year-old girl while shooting two shoplifters at the Victor Valley Mall on Tuesday, police said.
And earlier this month, police said six people were killed and 12 others injured in Sacramento, California, in a shootout between rival gangs as bars closed in a busy neighborhood near the Downtown Mall. Commons and State Capitol.
Michelle Liu, The Associated Press