BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA (AP) – A teenager was killed during a shooting at the Mall of America on Friday, police said.
Bloomington Police Chief, Booker Hodges, said the victim was a 19-year-old man.
An altercation happened between two groups estimated as five to nine people which leads to a person pulling out a gun and shot the victim multiple times. The entire incident lasted about 30 seconds.
Hodges urged the gunman and the others involved to surrender and warned people against aiding the suspects in avoiding arrest.
“We are going to lock you up,” he said. “It’s just a matter of when.”
Guns are banned on the premise but shoppers are not required to go through metal detectors.
Hodges said that security measures are being evaluated. Still, the chief added, “if we have an incident where someone decides they want to pull out a gun and shoot somebody then I still don’t know what we can do to stop that”.
Police did not identify the victim but Hodges said he and Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse spoke to the victim’s relatives on Friday night.
“We don’t know why it happened or what happened,” Hodges said.
A police officer stationed at the mall heard the gunshots around 7.50pm The officer tried life-saving measures to no avail. The lockdown lasted for about an hour.
Videos posted on social media shows shoppers hiding in stores, and an announcement in the mall warned people to seek shelter. Some videos show shoppers running after a gun shot was heard.
The shooting occurs as shopping centres and malls sees an influx of customers just days before the holiday.
Jenny Hefty of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and her 16-year-old daughter had gotten off the escalator up to the mall’s second floor when people started running toward them and screaming.
“At first we thought they were just messing around,” she told The Associated Press on Friday night.
Retailers began shutting their doors and her husband told them to run as armed guards rushed toward Nordstrom.
They raced to their hotel in the mall complex and tried to reach the couple’s other children and their friends. They had been shut inside stores or whisked into safer spots as the mall locked down.
The Minnesota Vikings football game against the New York Giants were set to happen on Saturday. The Giants were staying at a hotel adjacent to the mall.
The team’s Executive Vice President of Communications, Pat Hanlon, said he believes some players were in the mall at the time of the shooting. “Everyone is back in the hotel and accounted for now,” Hanlon said on Friday night.