As many as 14 people were injured in a shooting that took place at a busy shopping mall in Columbia, South Carolina. Out of the three individuals that had been detained due to firearms possession, one has been arrested by the Columbia Police Chief W.H. "Skip" Holbrook.
The law enforcement had originally detained the 22-year-old Jewayne M. Price, as 'a person of interest' and not a suspect, Holbrook said adding that the investigation was still going on and did not have enough to officially suspect anyone. Price is currently in police custody and is likely to be charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol, as reported by the Associated Press.
In a news release on Saturday, the Columbia Police Chief told reporters that officials had responded to numerous calls regarding gunfire at the Columbiana Centre shopping mall. In an attempt to flee for safety, he said nine people were shot and five people suffered injuries, but fortunately there have been no casualties have been confirmed and reported. The fourteen injured ranged in age from 15 to 73.
Even though the investigation is still in its initial stages, the officials believe it was a planned attack. They have seized one firearm and believe that at least three suspects displayed firearms inside the mall but are steadily working to determine how many suspects were involved.
"We believe that [the] individuals that were armed knew each other, and there was some type of conflict that occurred that resulted in gunfire. This was not a situation where we had some random person show up at a mall" to fire a firearm and injure people, Holbrook said.
Workers from a few of stores waiting to fetch their personal belongings hid in the empty parking lot until after the shooting on Saturday evening, waiting for police to let them back inside so they could leave. Declining to reveal their identity quoting company policies, they said they did not hear or see anything during the attack but followed the mall's alert system and were evacuated by police soon after.
"Today's isolated, senseless act of violence is extremely upsetting and our thoughts are with everyone impacted. We are grateful for the quick response and continued support of our security team and our partners in law enforcement," Columbiana Centre said in a statement, provided by the police.
After the attack, the area saw heavy police patrolling, officers also remained stationed outside the hotel assigned for reuniting people caught in the shooting with their families.