Published On: Sun, Apr 17th, 2022

10 wounded in shooting at South Carolina mall, police say

Ten people were struck by gunfire and two others were injured in a shooting at a South Carolina mall Saturday afternoon, police said.

Columbia police said at least one person opened fire at the Columbiana Centre after an apparent isolated conflict between a group of armed people.

Ten people ranging from 15 to 73 were wounded in the shooting, including two who were critically injured, Police Chief W. H. “Skip” Holbrook said. Two other people who were not shot had injuries from the rush to exit the mall, he said.

“We don’t believe this was random,” he said. “We believe that the individuals that were armed knew each other. There was some type of conflict that occurred that resulted in gunfire.”

In an early evening statement, Prisma Health hospitals said its facilities in the region had released nine of eleven patients it treated.

Columbia police said officers responded to the shooting around 2 p.m. and started evacuating the mall.

Holbrook said the initial caller stated gunfire was taking place outside the mall’s Gap store. Multiple 911 calls were fielded after that, he said.

Personnel from local sheriff’s departments, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the call.

Officers made an initial sweep of the mall to find the injured, the Holbrook said. They were in the process of making a second more thorough clearing of the facility, which he described as “large.”

Investigators were combing through security video to determine if the three people detained for questioning, which Holbrook described as “people of interest,” may be suspects or may have witnessed the events.

Cindy Rectenwald and her adult daughter Rachel Turney were wrapping up lunch at the mall’s food court when the mother said the sound of a heavy rainstorm had her looking up.

“People [were] racing and screaming and yelling and running toward the exit in the food court,” she said. “We realized what we had heard was an automatic weapon — gunfire.”

Police have not said if the shooting involved an automatic weapon.

Turney said after her mother tried to hide under a table they ran for their vehicle.

“I said, ‘We got to get up, we got to get out,'” she said. “We didn’t stop running until we got to my car.”

Columbiana Centre is approximately 10 miles from downtown Columbia.

In a statement the mall said, “Today’s isolated, senseless act of violence is extremely upsetting and our thoughts are with everyone impacted.”l on Harbison Boulevard has been closed, WIS-TV, NBC’s affiliated-station in Columbia reported.

A reunification site has been set up at a Fairfield Inn on 320 Columbiana Drive, police said.

Emilie Plesset contributed.

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