Police have arrested two men and are searching for one more person in connection withat a mall in South Carolina that wounded nine people and injured six more.
Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook said Monday that 20-year-old Marquise Robinson has been arrested and charged with nine counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and once count each of attempted murder and unlawful carry of a handgun. He is currently being held at Lexington County detention center and has a bond hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m.
22-year-old Jewayne M. Price, who was one of three people initially detained by law enforcement as a person of interest, remains in police custody. He has been charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol, and has had an additional nine counts of aggravated assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and attempted murder added to his charges, the Columbia Police Department said Monday.
At a Sunday hearing, a judge set a $25,000 bond for Price, who is being placed on house arrest until trial, according to Columbia police. It is not immediately known if Price has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Police are still searching for a third suspect and said they have have issued an arrest warrant for 21-year-old Amari Sincere-Jamal Smith. He is wanted for nine counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, attempted murder, and unlawful carrying of a pistol, and is considered “armed and dangerous,” police said.
Police declined to say whether any of the suspects have had prior arrests.
Fourteen people were originally reported injured during the shooting at the Columbiana Centre. But Holbrook said another victim came to police after the incident and reported a non life-threatening injury.
Holbrook said no fatalities have been reported. One person remains in the ICU, and other victims have been released from local hospitals or will be released shortly.
Police said the three men had some sort of disagreement, which lead to the shooting. At least two firearms were seized and ballistic evidence from the scene has been collected, Holbrook said Monday.
Daniel Johnson said he and his family were visiting from Alabama and were eating in the food court when they first heard shots ring out and started seeing people running. Johnson said people were screaming for their children and spouses, knocking over tables in the food court as they fled.
“Everybody was trying to get outside,” Johnson said. “When I was coming out, you could see baby strollers turned over, people’s phones and left keys. It was kind of a hectic situation.”
Johnson said he gathered his wife, daughter and son and began heading toward the exit after letting the crowd clear out for a bit.
“My biggest thing was — and not to sound selfish — was to make sure that our family was OK and to get them out safely because this is not something that we love to do for Easter weekend,” he said.
Heavy police presence continued in the area hours after the shooting, though officers began letting more traffic through the streets surrounding the shopping centers and strip malls that are usually packed on weekends. Officers were also stationed outside a nearby hotel designated as a reunification area for people at the scene of the shooting and their families.
Workers from a couple of stores remained clustered in the mostly empty parking lot Saturday evening, waiting for police to let them back inside to retrieve their car keys and personal belongings so they could leave. They said they did not hear or see anything during the shooting but followed the mall’s alert system and were evacuated by police shortly after. They declined to give their names, citing company policies.
“Today’s isolated, senseless act of violence is extremely upsetting and our thoughts are with everyone impacted,” Columbiana Centre said in a statement. “We are grateful for the quick response and continued support of our security team and our partners in law enforcement.”
The shooting is the latest in a rash of shootings at or near malls across the country.
A 15-year-old boy was shot in the head Wednesday outside Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal Mall. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. Officials said he was with a group of boys when they got into a dispute with a second group.
On Tuesday, a Southern California shoe store ownerwhile firing at two shoplifters at the Mall of Victor Valley, police said.
And earlier this month, police saidduring a gunfight between rival gangs as bars closed in a busy area near the Downtown Commons shopping mall and the state Capitol.