Teen arrested in US mall shooting

2015-02-08 21:20
(Bill Wade, AP)

(Bill Wade, AP)

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Monroeville - Three people were hospitalised on Sunday with gunshot wounds after a 17-year-old male opened fire on a man at a mall in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, police said, striking his intended target as well as two bystanders.

The Monroeville Mall went on lockdown on Saturday evening after the shooting. Police later arrested the gunman, who escaped from the scene, saying they were able to identify him by matching surveillance video with images on social media.

The suspect, who The Associated Press is not identifying because he is a juvenile, was arrested at a home in Brackenridge about 03:15 on Sunday. He was being held at the Allegheny County Jail pending arraignment on charges as an adult of aggravated assault, attempted homicide and recklessly endangering other people.

Gunfire erupted inside the Macy's at about 19:30, sending panicked shoppers running. Police went store to store to evacuate the mall, which closed for the night.

Police Chief Douglas Cole said two men and a woman were shot, including the man who was targeted. He said the two men were in critical condition, while the woman was in stable condition.

"This was not random," Cole told reporters. "We have evidence that leads to that." He declined to elaborate.

In late December, hundreds of teenagers gathered at the mall and several fights broke out. The fights caused local officials and mall administration to agree on a plan to increase security there.

Shoppers described chaos as shots rang out.

"All of the sudden we heard people screaming," Athena Coffey told KDKA-TV, "and the next thing you see is a bunch of people, teenagers, scared to death, just exodus en masse in a way you could not believe. I grabbed my children, husband, we started screaming 'go, go, go!'"

Yvette Jackson was attending a birthday party at Giggles and Smiles, a fitness and fun centre for children.

"We saw a lot of running, a lot of chaos," she told the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review. She said she and other patrons were locked in the store for about 45 minutes until police came and let them out.

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