Five people have been arrested in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man at the Mall of America that closed the sprawling mall on one of the final days of the holiday shopping season, police said on Saturday.
At an evening news conference, Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges announced the arrests related to Friday night’s shooting in Bloomington, a Minneapolis suburb, and said all would be charged with murder, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Hodges said the suspects arrested were two 18-year-old men and three 17-year-old male youths arrested in the morning at a home in nearby St. Louis Park by tri-jurisdictional SWAT team officers, according to the Star Tribune.
The chief added that one of the 18-year-olds is believed to be the shooter, although another suspect may also have fired a gun. A sixth suspect is still being sought.
“In Bloomington, if you come here and murder people in our mall, you get one of these for Christmas,” Hodges was quoted as saying by the paper as he held up an orange prison suit.
Minnesota government Tim Walz tweeted Saturday that the mall shooting was “absolutely unacceptable.” We are in touch with local officials to provide them with the support and resources they need.”
Police have not yet identified the 19-year-old who was killed, but Bloomington Chief and Mayor Tim Busse has spoken to the man’s family.
The shooting at the Nordstrom store in the country’s largest mall on Friday caused terrified shoppers to run to safety. The jacket of a passer-by is said to have been struck by a bullet.
According to police, there appeared to be some sort of altercation between the two groups, which escalated into a fistfight, and someone pulled out a gun and shot the victim multiple times. The entire incident lasted about 30 seconds.
A nearby Bloomington police officer – one of 16 stationed at the mall that day – heard the gunshots around 7:50 p.m. The officer attempted life-saving measures, but the victim died.
The lockdown lasted about an hour before the mall tweeted that shoppers were being sent outside. Videos posted on social media showed shoppers hiding in stores and an announcement at the mall warned people to take shelter.
Since opening in 1992, the Mall of America has been a tourist destination and community gathering place. It bans guns on the premises, but shoppers generally don’t have to go through metal detectors. The mall said in October it was testing a “weapons detection system” at one of its entrances.
The mall went into lockdown in August after a reported shooting at the shopping complex in suburban Minneapolis prompted some shoppers to run for cover and two people were injured last New Year’s Eve during an apparent altercation.
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