A shooting at an upscale shopping mall anchored by Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Zara and Saks Fifth Avenue located in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb in the greater Cleveland area, was the scene of pandemonium Saturday, as police responded to two incidents involving gunfire.
The savagery shook up a quiet town in middle America while a national debate roars over the issue of gun violence, shortly after 7,000 pairs of shoes were placed on the U.S. Capitol lawn to memorialize children in the United States who have lost their lives to firearms since December 2012 and a week before thousands of students plan to rally in what organizers call the “March for Our Lives.”
Beachwood Police Chief Gary Haba said that there were two skirmishes at the mall between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on March 17, and investigators are attempting to determine if the two episodes were related.
Two to three shots were fired outside the mall on the northeast side at about 3 p.m. and one adult male was taken into custody. Another adult male, who was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg is in stable condition and police say he was also placed in custody.
Haba said police believe the shooter knew and intentionally shot the victim, as it appears “the shooting resulted from an altercation between the two parties.”
“No more than two to three shots were fired,” Haba said. “One handgun and a large amount of cash were recovered at the scene.”
The second incident was near the main entrance for “a report of a shot fired,” the police chief said.
A 17-year-old female was transported to a hospital, where she was treated and released.
The mall shooting sent shoppers in a panic around 2:30-3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, according to Scripps Media, Inc.’s News 5 Anchorman Frank Wiley, an Emmy Award-winning local television journalist who was shopping with his young children when the shooting occurred.
“It was waves of chaos, bedlam,” Wiley said, who spoke about what happened inside the mall on Facebook Live minutes after the shooting:
The FBI and police from multiple departments were on scene in the afternoon, including Beachwood, Cleveland Heights, Lyndhurst, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, University Heights, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Following the first shooting, the mall went into lockdown. Store employees pulled down the gates to their stores to keep people inside.
Mall security was in the parking lot going vehicle to vehicle asking people to leave the area and said the mall would not reopen March 17. They asked reporters to leave the premises and wait at the nearby Cleveland Clinic Risman Building facility on Cedar road for a news conference.
Law enforcement blocked all entrances to the mall and directed traffic in the area.
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