Twelve people were injured after a shooting at a South Carolina mall, including 10 people shot dead and two injured in a “scramble”. police said Saturday afternoon.
Police in Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, responded to reports of shots being fired at the Columbiana Center mall, about 10 miles from downtown Columbia.
The gunshot victims ranged in age from 15 to 73, Chief WH Holbrook told a news conference. Two of the people who were shot were in critical condition on Saturday, Holbrook said. No deaths were reported, he added.
Three people were arrested as “persons of interest” on Saturday afternoon, Holbrook said. All three were seen with guns at the mall, and at least one allegedly fired a weapon, he said. Holbrook said police believe the three gunmen knew each other and shots were fired after an altercation.
“We don’t think it was random,” Holbrook said. “This was not a situation where a random person showed up at the mall to discharge a gun and hurt people.”
Holbrook said police continued to evacuate people from the mall, where employees and customers took shelter inside stores after officers conducted an initial sweep to find an injured person.
“Today’s isolated and senseless act of violence is extremely upsetting and our hearts go out to all those affected. We are grateful for the rapid response and continued support of our security team and our partners in charge of law enforcement,” the Columbiana Center said in a statement.
In a tweetpolice instructed employees to continue to shelter in place inside the mall until officers can escort them: “DO NOT leave a store until instructed to do so by the proper authorities.”
A regrouping site has been set up in a nearby hotel, according to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.