3 shot at mall, 2 in critical condition; shooter sought
MONROEVILLE, Pa. (AP) Gunfire erupted at a Pittsburgh-area shopping center on Saturday, wounding three people, two critically, in a shooting that was targeted, police said. The mall and a hospital's emergency room were placed on lockdown as police searched for the gunman.
The shootings occurred inside a Macy's store at about 7:30 p.m., sending shoppers running. Police went store to store to evacuate the mall.
Chief Douglas Cole said two men and a woman were shot, including one man who was targeted. The other two victims were bystanders, he said.
Cole said one gun was involved. "We have many leads and we are following them up," he said.
The three victims were taken to Forbes Hospital with gunshot wounds, hospital spokesman Jesse Miller said. One was in stable condition, he said. Cole said the other two were in critical condition.
Detectives told the hospital to lock down its emergency room until they were certain the Monroeville Mall shooter had been captured, Miller said.
Pennsylvania native and ex-NFL quarterback Terrelle Pryor tweeted that he was at the mall, a short drive east of Pittsburgh.
"Damn was just in monroeville mall and just saw 2 ppl get shot," he tweeted. "They are letting guns go in there."
Shoppers described chaos as shots rang out.
"All of the sudden we heard people screaming," Athena Coffey of Churchill 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 of North Braddock was attending a birthday party at Giggles and Smiles, a fitness and fun center for children.
"We saw a lot of running, a lot of chaos," she told the newspaper. She said she and other patrons were locked in the store for about 45 minutes until police came and let them out.
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.
Weapons are banned at the mall, whose code of conduct specifically prohibits "Carrying or displaying weapons of any kind except those carried by certified law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties."
The mall, which is owned and managed by CBL & Associates Properties Inc., of Chattanooga, Tennessee, has 1.1 million square feet of shopping space. It says on its website it features more than 125 stores and eateries, anchored by JCPenney, Macy's and Barnes & Noble.
No one answered the phone at CBL offices after business hours Saturday. A mall security officer reached by telephone said he couldn't talk.