SEATTLE — Two men were hurt when someone opened fire inside Southcenter Mall in Tukwila.
They believe the men were targeted by someone with whom they were familiar.
No one inside the mall knew what happened when they heard the shots just before 12 p.m. Saturday; all they could do was run and take cover.
The violence inside the Westfield Southcenter Mall seemed to come without warning.
“We just heard a bang, and then we just heard more bangs,” said an employee at Windsor, an apparel and accessories store. “And we just rushed to the back and hid.”
“We just heard some commotion going on behind us,” said Jordan, a young husband and father. “It sounded like metal trays falling down, potentially. But we saw people running.”
“We have training for this, but I think this is my third shooting at this mall,” said Kristin Rochon, an assistant manager at Windsor. She ushered her employees to safety inside the store.
“Everyone was screaming,” said Rochon. “It was complete chaos. And there was a lot of crying and shouts and shots. The shots went on, it felt like, forever.”
Chopper 7 was overhead as two victims were loaded onto stretchers for the ambulance ride to Harborview Medical Center.
Initial reports were that an active shooter was on the loose in the mall, but detectives eventually determined the shooting involved a group of people who likely knew each other. Something happened between them, and one of them pulled out a gun and fired, not far from the JC Penney store inside the mall.
Some shoppers called for rides home.
“Hopefully they’ll come out safe,” said Tony Flynn of Des Moines, as he waited in his truck. “Grab them and hug them when they get here.”
That call, he agreed, is not one he ever wanted to get. “No, not at all,” he said. “Not at all.”
Others were still trying to take it all in.
“Well, I’m still shaking,” said Quynh Maldonado, as she stood close to her friend, Ronnie Chaplin. “I’m still shaking right now, too.”
“Yeah, a lot of anxiety,” Chaplin said. “I don’t want to go anywhere because I’m scared. Because anytime someone can pull up in the parking lot and shoot me.”
Just after 6 p.m. Saturday night, Tukwila police tweeted that they did not have the suspect in custody.
A 32-year-old man who was shot was being discharged from Harborview. A 27-year-old man was more severely injured and was admitted in serious condition. On Sunday, officials with Harborview Medical Center reported that he is improving.
Both men are expected to survive.
Cox Media Group