Ocala mall shooting suspect identified as manhunt continues

Ocala Police are offering a $3,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest

Kelly Rissman
Sunday 24 December 2023 21:26 GMT
Ocala mall shooting: 'Person of interest' sought by police

Police identified the murder suspect one day after a “targeted” shooting at a mall in Ocala, Florida, left one person dead and another injured.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Albert J Shell Jr, 39. He is wanted for premeditated first-degree murder and attempted premeditated first-degree murder. However, he is still at large — police asked the public for information that could lead to an arrest.

They are offering a $5,000 reward, an increase from earlier on Saturday when they offered $3,000 for information on the suspect.

The shooter opened fire around 3.40pm on Saturday at Paddock Mall. Ocala Police posted three photos of a “person of interest” hours after the incident, showing a Black male wearing all black, with white sneakers and a red cap.

At a press conference on Saturday evening, police said they believed the fatal shooting was a “targeted act” and that the man who died was the intended target. After opening fire, authorities said the suspect “fled the mall being undetected.”

While the manhunt for the suspect continues, police identified the victim killed as 40-year-old David Nathaniel Barron, 40. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and we are committed to bringing the perpetrator to justice,” officials wrote.

It is still unclear if and how the victim and the suspect knew one another.

The shooting left another woman with a gunshot wound to her leg. The unnamed victim “was taken to the hospital for treatment for non-life-threatening injuries,” police wrote.

This shooting was “the worst thing we can imagine this time of the year,” an officer said during the press conference. Authorities also asked for those at the mall who may have witnessed the tragedy to provide information.

Police said they received reports of an “active shooter” around 3.40pm on Saturday after shoppers heard “multiple shots fired.” By 4.20pm, officials announced that the shooting was no longer active.

As of Sunday morning, the search for the suspect was ongoing.

Ocala Police also issued a warning to the person who apparently took the suspect’s red hat from the crime scene, noting that the hat could contain DNA evidence. “We urge you to do the right thing and come forward immediately,” police wrote on Sunday afternoon.

Authorities added that if this person doesn’t return the hat “within the next few hours, we will release your picture on our social media and to the news media outlets, and you will be arrested with a felony charge of tampering with evidence.”

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