3 injured in Florida shopping mall shooting as shoppers disperse – fr

3 injured in Florida shopping mall shooting as shoppers disperse – fr

MIAMI – A shootout at a South Florida shopping mall, sparked by a scuffle between two groups of people, scared panicked shoppers away and left three injured on Saturday afternoon, police and witnesses said.

Live aerial television news footage showed people scattering outside the Aventura Mall after the first reports of gunfire. Law enforcement vehicles could be seen converging on the complex and blocking roads.

Aventura Police said two groups of people started fighting before escalating into gunfire.

An individual from one of the groups produced a gun, and an individual from the other group also drew a gun and fired it, Aventura Police spokesperson Michael Bentolila said. , during a briefing to journalists on live television.

Police said the three injured were taken to hospitals but their injuries were not life threatening.

Aventura police later tweeted that authorities had “several suspects” in custody who were being questioned by detectives. Police had no immediate report on what triggered the incident and did not immediately disclose the identities of those detained or injured.

After the shooting, customers and mall employees were driven out of the shopping complex and officials announced that the mall would not reopen until Sunday.

Oscar Alvarado, an employee of the mall, said the resort was bustling with crowds on Mother’s Day weekend when chaos erupted. He said it was not the first mall shooting he had experienced.

“This time I have to say I could hear the screams from so far away. I could clearly hear that people were really, really worried and worried, ”he said. “They were shouting ‘shooter, shooter’. “

Alvarado recorded video of two police officers moving down the aisle of the mall after the shooting with their guns. And he described waiting about an hour with his colleagues before he could evacuate.

“There was a lot of commotion outside, a lot of people were crying and being stressed,” he said of the scene outside.

Videos shared on community social media forums show officers appearing to take a man into custody outside the mall. Other images show shoppers running out of stores or looking for shelter.

Luke Lockart, 22, said he was at Armani Exchange checking in when he heard screams and things falling because people were running around the store and knocking over mannequins.

“They were trying to hide wherever they could because no one knew what was going on,” said Lockart, who works in real estate.

Store staff eventually locked the doors and asked people to go to a back room, he said. Police and first responders were crossing a nearby hallway within minutes. “They were on top,” Lockart said.

He followed the updates on social media, saying it “was a very disturbing feeling” as he spent more than an hour in the store before the police escorted everyone.

Aventura City Director Ron Wasson told the Miami Herald that authorities were sweeping the complex afterward in case someone dropped a gun.

“They just want to make sure that if someone was able to throw a gun, we don’t miss it,” he told the newspaper.

Aventura Mall promotes itself on its online site as a premier shopping destination in the Miami area and South Florida.

In May 2020, two people were injured and taken to hospital after an argument led to a shooting inside the same mall. Police said the shooting also followed an argument.


Associated Press editor Thalia Beaty in New York contributed to this report.


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