At least two people were killed and four others, including a police officer, were injured when a gunman opened fired in a shopping mall in Boise, Idaho.
The terrifying incident happened at the at the Boise Towne Square Mall in the Western United States. Police officers responded to reports of shots fired at the mall at around 1:50 p.m. on Monday. After the officers arrived at the scene, they found someone matching the suspect's description and exchanged gunfire, resulting in the officer's injury and the suspect's arrest, reported CBS News. The officer has since been in the hospital and later released.
The shooter reportedly fired shots both inside and outside of the mall. The gunman is now in custody. Neither the suspect nor any of the victims have been publicly identified. Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said at a news conference, "We really cannot at this time speak to any motivation behind it, or anything else that may impact the investigation."
A video widely circulated on Twitter appears to show loud gunshots echoing through the mall and cops surrounding the area. Shoppers fled to the nearest businesses to hide for their lives, according to New Yok Post.
"I cannot stress enough how traumatic this event is for the community at large as well as for those that were witnesses or are the families of all who were involved," Lee said.
BPD had indicated in a tweet at about 3:30 p.m. that six people, including the police officer, were injured in the shooting. Lee clarified that two of the six had died.
Authorities Closed the Roads Leading to the Mall
According to The New York Times, the two-story Boise Towne Square mall is made up of more than 150 stores and restaurants. Police asked people to avoid the area and said they were notifying the families of those involved, reported The Associated Press.
As per the local reports, both the FBI and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) are assisting in the investigation.
Mass Shootings: Recurrent Problem in the U.S.
Mass shootings in the United States are disturbingly common. In comparison with other Western countries, there are significantly more shootings in the U.S., which some theorize is due to the relatively lax gun control laws. Gun control laws in the U.S. are dependent on the state, and the right to own a firearm is enshrined in the United States Constitution.
According to ABC news, which has cited data from the Gun violence Archive, over 20,000 deaths and 39,000 injuries have been reported across the U.S. due to mass shootings.
Earlier this month, a chilling video emerged after at least six people were injured due to a shooting incident inside a mall at the Park City Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Several ambulances were sent to the mall for gunshot wounds and trampling injuries. The mall was evacuated and the threat was neutralized.