The Delaware State Police have confirmed that three people were shot at Christiana Mall Saturday evening in what investigators do not believe was a random shooting, prompting a huge response from local first responders and law enforcement.
The three people injured in the gunfire were taken to the hospital, according to police. Two were reported in critical condition.
Police said five other people were also injured, but the injuries were not gunshot-related. They did not provide any more details about the injuries.
What caused the shooting and where did it happen?
State police said they were called to the mall at about 6:45 pm for a report of a shooting in the food court. Investigators believe the shooting was a result of an altercation between an unknown number of suspects and at least one of the gunshot victims.
“It has not been confirmed how many suspects were involved,” State Police Cpl. Jason Hatchell said.
Police said they haven’t arrested anyone yet, but said there were no public safety concerns at the mall after sweeping and clearing the building Saturday night.
The mall remained closed after the shooting Saturday and police advised people to avoid the area.
Police also set up a reunification area by the north entrance to the mall near the AT&T store.
Social media reports describe mall gunfire
Dozens of social media posts reported there was a shooting in the mall long before police released information publicly. This includes people who said they were at the mall when the gunfire occurred. Some posted videos of them being directed to hide in store backrooms.
One person was seen being taken away in an ambulance.
Witness recounts hearing gunshots inside the mall
David P. Neff of Elkton, Maryland, said he was at the mall food court Saturday night with his partner and a friend when he heard gunshots coming from near the Barnes & Noble and Chik-Fil-A.
Neff said that as soon as the gunshots went off, everyone in the mall — Neff included — started running. People were screaming, and Neff said he lost his partner at one point but later reunited with him.
“I was definitely scared,” Neff said.
He said he wondered if those were his final minutes.
“I told my mom and my co-worker what happened and it was heartbreaking because I didn’t know if this was the last time I would speak to them,” Neff said.
Family hid inside Macy’s storage area
Susan Menasion was at Macy’s Saturday night waiting for her daughter who was in the bathroom when an employee told her she had to go into one of the store’s storage areas. She told the worker she wasn’t going anywhere without her daughter and granddaughters.
The employee got Menasion’s family and all four were ushered into a storage area where there were about 25 people.
“We were scared,” the Newark-area resident said. “It was scary. We didn’t know what was going on.”
Menasion, her grandkids and her daughter were in the storage room for about 40 minutes before they were allowed to leave through the back door.
“It’s scary. It really is,” she said. “You hear it on the news all the time and then when you’re in the middle of it, it’s scary.”
Where were police and first responders?
Most first responders were centered on the entrance to the food court, where the police seemed to be investigating. Police had taped off a perimeter around the entrances to the Cheesecake Factory and Barnes & Noble.
Police manned the area with long rifles and asked the dozens of lookers to back up, saying the area had not been declared safe. A police helicopter was also flying above the mall as a first responder vehicle with lights flashing sat stationed between Target and Nordstrom.
Access to Christiana Mall closed
Traffic was gridlocked around the mall, eventually prompting Mall Road to close.
Officials then blocked the ramps to keep everyone who was not a first responder from entering the mall area.
This is a developing story.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Christiana Mall shooting: 3 shot, 2 in critical condition Saturday