EDITOR’S NOTE: Gastonia Police clarified Friday evening that a fourth victim that showed up at a Charlotte hospital with injuries and was previously determined to be shot at the mall was not actually shot at the mall. The story has been corrected to reflect only three victims shot.
GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Multiple people have been injured in a reported shooting Friday afternoon at the Eastridge Mall in Gastonia, according to police.
The shooting occurred at 12:10 p.m. Friday, June 10 at the mall located along N New Hope Road near I-85, Gastonia Police said that the shooting occurred in the mall’s parking lot. Two of the victims fled inside to the food court area after being shot, one was located outside the mall near the food court.
Investigators have charged a 17-year-old with multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He was detained in the woods shortly after the shooting occurred. Investigators are working to determine if the suspect knew the victims. A discarded handgun was found inside the mall’s food court.
Gaston County EMS confirmed with Queen City News that three people were injured in the shooting and transported to CaroMont Regional Medical Center.
Gastonia Police said the three victims, two men and one woman, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Aiden Jefferis was shopping at the mall at the time of the shooting.
“So basically, we were shopping downstairs and we see cops go by with their guns and they tell us to lock down immediately and stay inside, so we stayed inside and heard yelling in the distance and all that,” said Jefferis.
Gerardo Ugalde was nearby and saw people injured in the shooting.
“I was very, very nervous…I heard maybe around three or four shots ‘bum’ ‘bum’ ‘bum’ and the window in front of the building is broken because of one of the bullets… Everyone froze because of what was happening. Some were running, some screaming, some ladies were crying…It’s quite frightening,” said Ugalde.
It’s up to the mall management to decide when to reopen the mall to the public, police said. Queen City News was told multiple stores inside the mall were on lockdown as authorities investigated.
“I went into Curt’s, and they locked the door and said get on the elevator go downstairs there’s an active shooter in the mall…They told us to come out with our hands up out of the mall,” said shopper Linda Haynes.
Watch Friday’s news conference below:
“It was frightening for sure because the cops said they didn’t know where he was, so you didn’t know if he was nearby, so there was nothing for sure…it definitely frightens me for sure because you never know what can happen and this is just crazy that it did happen,” said Jefferis.
“It’s really scary, you can’t go anywhere, it’s terrifying,” said Haynes, “Pray for this world, it needs prayers for sure, it’s crazy.”
Due to the suspect’s age, the suspect is not being identified by investigators.