A 22-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a shooting at a South Carolina shopping mall in which 14 people were either shot or injured during a stampede to escape, police said on Saturday night.
The man was one of three people to be detained immediately after the shooting, which happened just outside South Carolina’s capital of Columbia, and he will be charged with unlawfully carrying a pistol.
The Columbia police chief, William Holbrook, said other charges against the man, identified as Jewayne Price, could follow. But the other two people had been released.
Police were now seeking two other suspects who had been seen carrying guns inside the mall, and were examining video footage to determine how many firearms had been discharged.
The wounded ranged in age from 15 to 73, with nine suffering gunshot wounds and the remainder being injured while trying to escape the violence.
Holbrook said that on Saturday night most of the victims had been treated and released from hospital, with only the 73-year-old woman still receiving care.
Police had initially said two of the victims were in critical condition.
Holbrook said the shooting appeared to erupt from a dispute involving people who knew each other.
“We do not believe this was random,” Holbrook said. “We believe that the individuals that were armed knew each other. There was some type of conflict that had occurred that resulted in gunfire. This was not a situation where we had some random person show up at a mall to just try and fire to injure people.”
Officers had searched the mall to let people who hid inside during the shooting know that it was safe to emerge. Those who were separated from loved ones amid the chaos were also being brought to a reunification center at a hotel down the street from the mall.
Update: We have confirmed that people have been injured during the incident — they are receiving medical attention. The extent of injuries unknown at this time. #ColumbiaPDSC officers have been evacuating the mall and getting people to safety. — Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) April 16, 2022
The shooting occurred at the Columbiana mall, about 10 miles from downtown Columbia.
Statement from @ColumbianaCtr: “Today’s isolated, senseless act of violence is extremely upsetting and our thoughts are with everyone impacted. We are grateful for the quick response and continued support of our security team and our partners in law enforcement.” — Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) April 16, 2022
It happened after at least two other high-profile shootings injured numerous people elsewhere in the US.
One, on 3 April, left six dead and 12 injured in Sacramento. The other, on Tuesday, left 10 with bullet wounds on a New York City subway. Both of those shootings have since resulted in arrests.
Such violence has renewed advocates’ calls for more substantial gun control legislation.