DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A 10-year-old was among three people shot inside The Streets of Southpoint Mall in Durham on Black Friday with three others injured during the chaotic evacuation of the mall, according to police.
Durham police chief Patrice Andrews said off-duty Durham police officers were already at the mall when they heard gunfire at 3:23 p.m. Friday on the second floor. Police investigated the gunfire and found three people with gunshot wounds, she said.
There were reports of people running out of the mall soon after the gunfire. Photos showed chairs flipped over and food on tables – and on the floor – at the food court after people quickly fled following the gunfire.
By 4 p.m. there was a heavy police presence at the mall with at least nine Durham police cruisers parked near the Macy’s store entrance. EMS units could be seen parking lot of the mall, which was closed for the day after the shootings.
Andrews said the shooting occurred between two groups who knew each other. Many of the group members fled, but one was detained and there are several witnesses, Andrews added.
Andrews also said that the 10-year-old who was shot was hit by a ricochet bullet, but it has not been confirmed whether the child was a part of either group. The child was taken to a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, Andrews said.
Leonardo Williams, a Durham city council member who was elected but has not taken office, said one of the other people who was shot is in critical condition. The third person is believed to have injuries that are not life-threatening, Williams said.
Andrews confirmed that another three people were injured during the evacuation, bringing the total of those injured in the entire incident to six. Andrews also said one weapon was recovered at the scene.
During a short news conference at 5:30 p.m., Andrews also said that “the shootings must stop” and when asked by reporters what should be done immediately to limit gun violence, Andrews said the city will increase security in all areas.
“We have worked with all of our federal partners to identify these individuals that are bent on coming to our community and wreaking havoc, we will be sending them to federal prison,” Andrews said during the news conference.
Durham city councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton told CBS 17 that the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office are helping with patrols outside the mall.
Fayetteville Road is closed near Interstate 40 along at least one ramp from I-40, according to traffic cameras at the scene.
Durham police released a brief statement just after 5:20 p.m.: “DPD is investigating a shooting incident at The Streets at Southpoint. The mall is being evacuated and will be closed while DPD investigates the incident. Motorists are advised to avoid the area. There is no further threat at the mall.”
April Raphiou said she was approaching the mall to go shopping Friday afternoon when she saw dozens of people running out of the mall into the parking lot. Video captured by Raphiou showed the scene outside the Nordstrom store.
“We were about to go into Southpoint Mall when people started running out. They say there is an active shooter, so stay clear of the area!” Raphiou wrote on Twitter.
The mall was evacuated last month when there were also reports of gunfire. Eventually, police said that incident on Oct. 24 did not involve gunfire, but instead, chaos ensued when a loud noise was heard.
Police said there were several minor injuries as people evacuated in a frenzy during the incident last month.
The Streets of Southpoint mall is located at the Interstate 40/Fayetteville Road interchange. Durham EMS officials said motorists should avoid the area.
In Friday’s shooting, there was no word about the severity of injuries regarding the other two people who were shot.