HOOVER, Ala. — An 8-year-old boy died and three other people were wounded when a gunman opened fire at an Alabama mall Friday, authorities said.
Update 8:33 p.m. EDT July 5 : A 22-year-old man has been charged in the July 3 shootout at Alabama’s Riverchase Galleria that killed an 8-year-old boy and wounded three others.
Giles, who was shot in the head, was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. Police said the three other victims were all treated and released Friday evening and that more suspected gunmen are being sought, AL.com reported.
All of the victims are considered innocent bystanders by police.
“Our community is heartbroken,‘' Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said during a Sunday news conference. “The officers who were on the scene will forever bear the image of an innocent child who died in their arms.”
Investigators have determined Coleman got into a verbal altercation with a group of males near the food court on the first floor of the state’s largest mall.
At some point during the argument, Coleman armed himself with a 5.56-caliber pistol and fired towards the group of men who returned fire, WBMA reported.
Coleman was taken into custody without incident in the parking deck of the adjacent Hyatt Regency Hotel shortly after the shooting, AL.com reported.
Update 10:36 p.m. EDT July 3: Gunfire erupted at 3:18 p.m. on the first floor of the Riverchase Galleria, the state’s largest mall, AL.com reported.
The 8-year-old boy, named Royta, was transported to an area hospital by a Hoover Fire Department rescue unit, the website reported.
“We are saddened to report that this victim was pronounced deceased shortly after arrival at Children’s (Hospital),” the Hoover Police Department said in a statement.
Royta’s mother, who did not want her last name used, said she and her three children were waiting to get into Children’s Place, a child’s clothing store, AL.com reported. Because of coronavirus precautions, the store only allowed a limited number of people inside at a time.
That’s when shots rang out.
“We heard the gunshots and I grabbed them and we hit the ground,‘' the woman told AL.com. “When we all got up, (Royta) was the only one who didn’t get up.”
Original report: At least four people were injured when a gunman opened fire at an Alabama mall on Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The Hoover Police Department confirmed there were shots fired and four people were transported to area hospitals after “multiple shots” were fired at the Riverchase Galleria mall.
A suspect was in custody, AL.com reported. The extent of the victims’ injuries were unknown.
In a statement, Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector said his department received a call of shots fired at 3:18 p.m. local time.
“Officers, detectives and crime scene investigators are on the scene and are beginning the process of interviewing victims and witnesses and collecting evidence,” Rector said. “We don’t know at this point what led to the shooting or how many gunmen were involved. We can confirm that there are at least four victims who have been transported to local hospitals. Their conditions are unknown at this time. The mall has been evacuated and the scene is secure.”
Rector later said the situation at the mall “is contained.”
The galleria has had two shootings since 2018, AL.com reported.
Emantic Fitzgerald “EJ” Bradford Jr. was fatally shot Thanksgiving night in 2018 inside the Galleria by a police officer who was responding to a shooting, the website reported. On June 26, 2019, Hoover police and firefighters found a man fatally shot inside a vehicle on the fifth floor of the mall’s parking deck.
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