2 hurt in gunfire at Seattle-area mall

November 23, 2008 10:08:21 AM PST
A young gunman remained at large early Sunday following a shooting at a busy shopping mall that killed one teenager and seriously wounded another. At least four or five people were detained and questioned after the shooting Saturday afternoon at Southcenter Mall in this Seattle suburb, police Officer Mike Murphy said.

Murphy said the shooting stemmed from a fight between two groups of people and may have been gang related. He said police expected to identify the gunman and make an arrest soon.

The assailant and the two victims were all in their late teens or early 20s, authorities said.

The Southcenter Mall in Tukwila was jammed with thousands of pre-Thanksgiving Day shoppers when the gunman fired multiple shots after apparently getting into an altercation with the two victims, police said.

Chris Plummer told KIRO-TV a fight developed in a group of young people and one standing next to him pulled a gun and fired six or seven rounds.

"Everybody just stopped," said Mark Nickels, 51 of Seattle, a shopper. "Everybody thought something fell. Then a second or two later, there was a second shot and then everybody scattered. People were running to the (exits) or running to the stores to hide."

Chauncey Williams, a soldier from Fort Lewis, said he saw one man pull out a gun and fire.

"I've got the heebie jeebies," Williams told The Seattle Times. "It's like I'm back in Iraq or something."

SWAT teams from all over Puget Sound converged on the mall, which was locked down for six hours. Store employees and customers were allowed to exit in groups and Murphy said the shooter "must have got out with the crowd."

One victim died at a hospital. A spokeswoman at Harborview Medical Center said the wounded young man's injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

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