GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A fight between armed teens sparked a shooting at a suburban Phoenix outlet mall, leaving a 4-year-old boy and three others wounded, officials said Thursday.
The boy was still hospitalized in critical condition a day after Wednesday’s shooting, suffering from at least one gunshot wound, police from the city of Glendale said.
The other three injured people, including the boy’s 27-year-old mother and the teenagers who opened fire, were in stable condition after also suffering gunshot wounds.
The shooting sent hundreds of shoppers fleeing Wednesday afternoon from Tanger Outlets. It started after a 17-year-old boy shopping with the child and his mother encountered another boy, 15, Glendale police Officer Tiffany Ngalula said. Both teens knew each other.
Ngalula says they got into an altercation in a central walkway area. The older teen, “the primary aggressor,” pulled out a handgun and started firing and the other boy, who also had a handgun, returned fire, Nagula said.
A police officer arrived within two minutes of calls reporting the shooting and began CPR on the young boy. All the injured were taken to a hospital by ambulance except for the 15-year-old, who was dropped off by someone else.
Investigators have not determined the motive for the shooting or how the teens obtained the guns.
“We have potentially hundreds of witnesses and victims,” Ngalula said. “It’s going to take some time to go through interviews” and evidence.
The two teens accused of opening fire have not been arrested, Ngalula said.
In the shooting’s aftermath, nervous friends and relatives rushed to line up in parking lots near the mall and waited for hours.
Meanwhile, the mall and surrounding businesses remained on lockdown as police searched and cleared stores where people took cover. At one checkpoint in the mall’s parking lot, officers were also seen stopping drivers and inspecting the trunks of vehicles exiting.