HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Authorities said an 8-year-old boy was killed in a shooting at an Alabama shopping mall Friday afternoon.
Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis during a news conference that a juvenile female and two adults were also hospitalized after the shooting inside the Riverchase Galleria. Their conditions were not immediately clear.
Multiple shots were reported near the food court inside the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Police Capt. Gregg Rector said in a news release.
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“We don’t know at this point what led to the shooting or how many gunmen were involved,” Rector added.
Authorities did not say whether anyone had been arrested.
The mall has been evacuated “and the scene is secure,” police said.
Annalisa Pope, who works at Hollister in the mall, told ABC-affiliate WBMA-TV in a telephone interview that she heard six to seven shots fired.
“It wasn’t just one or two,” she said. “That’s what got me off guard. They (the shots) just kept going.”
She said the gunshots “sounded like they were coming from every direction.”
Hoover police asked anyone was in the mall who witnessed the shooting to call authorities.
“It felt so close,” she said. “It was so surreal. It doesn’t even feel real right now. You wouldn’t expect something like that to happen out of nowhere on a normal, Friday afternoon.”
The mall in suburban Birmingham was the site of a 2018 police shooting where an officer fatally shot a Black man with a gun after mistaking him for the gunman in an earlier shooting at the mall.
The shooting of 21-year-old Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. prompted a series of protests at the mall. The Alabama attorney general’s office cleared the officer, saying he acted “reasonably under the circumstances” in the encounter that spanned approximately five seconds.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic, senseless incident that took place in our shopping center this afternoon,” the mall said in a statement Friday.