People evacuated after a reported shooting at Fashion Place Mall in Murray, Utah on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Sir roger, his Hope/the Deseret News via AP)
A man and a woman in their early 20s were wounded in a possible gang-related” shooting at a Utah mall, authorities said Sunday.
Murray police officer Kenny Bass said the man was in critical condition, while the woman was in serious condition. Both were treated in a hospital.
Bass told Fox 13 that the authorities were looking for three people who fled the shopping center in the light colored shirts or sweatshirts and dark pants. He added that there are no other victims or suspects were found in the mall.
Hundreds of frightened shoppers hunkered down in the back rooms and storage areas until the police arrived to evacuate the building. Shoppers were escorted from the mall to keep their hands in the air.
The Fashion Place mall is a much-visited shopping centre in the heart of the Salt Lake City metro area with stores such as Crate and Barrel, Macy’s and Nordstrom.
Crate and Barrel employee Danielle Calacino told The Associated Press that she saw people running from the mall after an alarm blared. She said 10 to 12 employees and about 20 customers, hidden in the store’s upstairs storage room. She said that the police accompanied them after about 40 minutes.
“We were all quiet and in shock,” said Calacino, a 21-year-old student at the University of Utah.
She said she learned there was a shooting from a message on the intercom. Everyone immediately got on their phones, she said, to learn what happened. Friends texting to ask if she was OK. Some people were crying.
The mall said in a tweet that it is “very saddened by the incident” and grateful for the actions of security and the Murray police.
Stella Fonseca, an assistant manager at Claire’s, told The Salt Lake Tribune that she helped barricade a back room with cabinets and lockers to hide themselves, other employees and four customers,
“There was a sense of panic,” she said.
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Rebecca Madsen, who was working at a chocolate kiosk in the mall, told the Deseret News that she is also in the back of Claire.
“Fight or flight,” Madsen said, wiping away tears. “I prayed to God and asked for help and protection.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.