Police: We’re pursuing suspect in mall slaying

The shooting victims were taken from the Westfield Southcenter on stretchers and placed in ambulances.
Authorities are pursuing a suspect in Saturday’s fatal shooting at a mall in Tukwila, Washington, a police spokesman said Sunday.

A shooter killed one man and wounded another at Westfield Southcenter mall in what was probably a gang-related incident, said Tukwila police Sgt. Mark Howie. Police would not release the name of the suspect, but hope to have the suspect in custody in the “near future,” Howie said. Video footage from the mall shows the shooting happened after a fist-fight broke out between two groups of men “wearing different colors,” Howie said. “It’s clear one is winning the fight over the other,” he said. “Then the shooter pulls away to produce a firearm and shoots it two or three times.” The shooting happened at about 3:45 p.m. Hundreds of people, including the shooter, fled the scene before the mall was locked down about 15 minutes later, Howie said. At least five people were detained and questioned Saturday night, and all were eventually released, he added.

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Police said Saturday that the shooting victims were believed to be in their 20s. The wounded survivor was still being treated at a hospital Sunday, Howie said. Also taken to a hospital were a woman who appeared to go into labor and a man who suffered a neck injury as people rushed from the center. Eyewitness Chris Plummer told CNN affiliate KIRO-TV that a fight between a group of 18- to 20-year-olds preceded the shooting. One of them pulled out a gun and started shooting, Plummer said. Plummer told KIRO he was standing next to the shooter when bullets started to fly — six to seven shots in all. Shoppers and employees described a chaotic scene. “We were coming up from the stairs over there, and then we just heard gunshots — maybe two or three … then other people started running, and we started running, too,” a shopper said. “It was just kind of crazy.” According to mall employee Hilary Young, “it sounded like a big display dropped, and then everybody went running away.” “I heard that there was a fight that broke out” between the men, she said. People ducked, and employees of a store ran into a back room where they could barricade themselves. “My co-worker was freaking out, like she was having a panic attack. I was actually pretty OK,” Young said.

A store manager said that after the shots were fired, “parents grabbed their kids and ran out of there.” The mall, about 14 miles south of Seattle, Washington, reopened Sunday.