A shooting at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on the kick-off to Christmas weekend left a 19-year-old man dead and police searching for suspects Friday night.
Bloomington police said in a briefing late Friday night that two groups had gotten into a physical altercation and one person pulled out a gun and fired shots killing the teen.
The incident began about 7:50 p.m. when an officer called out over the air that shots had been fired inside the Nordstrom store at the mall, according to police dispatch audio.
Further dispatch audio indicated that police quickly located the victim and that CPR was being performed. Shortly thereafter, an officer aired that the victim was deceased.
Audio indicated that police may have been searching for a second shooting victim at the time, but Chief Booker Hodges said in a late-night press conference that the clothing of an innocent bystander had been grazed. There was no indication that any other victims had been injured by gunfire.
The Mall of America posted on social media shortly after the shooting that a lockdown had gone into place and asked people to remain in the closest secure location until the lockdown was lifted. The lockdown lasted about an hour, and then people were asked to leave the building as the mall closed for the evening.
Chief Hodges confirmed in his briefing that the shots had been reported by a police officer who was at the mall in the vicinity of Nordstrom when the shots were fired. The chief said there were 16 officers working at the mall at the time of the shooting.
Initial dispatch audio indicated that two suspects may have had guns. Chief Hodges said that police were able to review surveillance video from the incident which showed that two groups consisting of five to nine black males had gotten into a physical altercation when one of them pulled out a gun and fired shots. Hodges said he didn’t know at this point whether more than one gun was present during the incident.
The altercation only lasted about 30 seconds, and then five to seven of the people ran out the door at Nordstrom, Chief Hodges said, implying that the parties ran to a door that led outside, not into the mall.
Current scene outside Mall of America – now being taped off by police as lots of shoppers try to leave w/ temperatures near -30 here in Bloomington, Minnesota. pic.twitter.com/ZrTd3YgeTL
— Rebecca Brannon (@RebsBrannon) December 24, 2022
The victim was shot multiple times, Hodges said, but declined to give further details citing the ongoing investigation.
The chief urged the suspects to turn themselves in to police.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office assisted in processing the crime scene, and the chief said ATF would also be contacted since the incident involved firearms.
Chief Hodges said that Nordstrom would be closed but the mall would be operational from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. He also said that he expected to have more public information to release on Saturday.
This is the third gunfire incident at the Mall of America in less than a year. Two people were struck by gunfire on New Year’s Eve a year ago, and shots were fired inside the mall in another incident in August of this year. Just three weeks after the August incident, a man armed with a rifle made his way up to a hat shop on the third floor of the mall and demanded merchandise during a robbery.
Alpha News will continue to follow developments in Friday’s shooting.
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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.