Shooting inside North Carolina shopping mall leaves three people injured

Two persons of interest were taken into custody following the shooting at the Eastbridge mall in Gastonia

Rachel Sharp
Friday 10 June 2022 19:45 BST
The scene at the Eastbridge mall in Gastonia following Friday’s shooting

Three people have been wounded in a shooting inside a shopping mall in North Carolina that sent panicked shoppers fleeing to safety.

Gunfire erupted in the food court in the Eastridge Mall along North New Hope Road in Gastonia on Friday afternoon, according to authorities.

Gastonia Police said that officers were called to reports of a shooting at around 12.10pm and arrived on the scene to find two men and one woman suffering from gunshot wounds.

Gastonia Police Chief Travis Brittain said in a press conference that first responders immediately began rendering aid to the victims, wrapping tourniquets around their gunshot wounds before they were rushed to hospital.

The three adult victims all sustained non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

Two “persons of interest” were taken into custody and are currently being interviewed by police about the shooting, he said.

The police chief confirmed that investigators are not looking for any other suspects at this time.

Police officials earlier told Channel 9 that at least one suspect had been spotted running away from the mall in the direction of some neighbouring woods following the shooting.

Chief Brittain said that people had been spotted going into the woods but that it was unclear if they were connected to the shooting or not.

Officers were continuing to search the wooded area to find out.

However he sought to reassure the public that there is “no active threat” at this time.

“We don’t have any reason to believe there is a need to fear for the public,” he said.

When asked if the shooting is believed to be gang related, he said investigators are “not ruling anything out”.

He said that police are working to determine whether the two men and one woman who were shot were involved in the shooting or were simply innocent shoppers.

At this time, Chief Brittain said the individuals, who were not identified, are being treated as “victims”.

The mall was placed on lockdown and police were working to clear the building and evacuate shoppers safely.

Gaston Police said that some mall employees and shoppers barricaded themselves in stores so officers are going store to store to find people.

Members of the public are urged to stay away from the area around the mall.

Family members of shoppers or employees looking for their loved ones are being told to go to the parking lot of nearby restaurant Lucky Samurai.

Chief Brittain vowed to hold the perpetrators “accountable” as he said it was a “great concern” for a shooting to unfold in the busy food court during the lunchtime rush.

“As you can imagine this is a very large investigation,” he added.

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