(see bottom of this post for added/updated info throughout the evening)
ORIGINAL 4:21 PM REPORT: It’s the closest major mall to West Seattle so this is practically local news: A shooting is reported at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila – at least one person reported to have been hit. We are monitoring some of the scanner traffic; the search for a suspect/s appears to be continuing. Will add more info/links as we get them; this is the first report. Eerie that it was the pre-Thanksgiving weekend three years ago when the Tacoma Mall shooting happened. 4:33 PM UPDATE: Scanner says it happened “between Mac Store, Banana Republic, and main hallway” and believed to be gang-related. We are also monitoring regional news sources for any new details from scene. Here are some direct links: P-I report, KING5 report, KIRO report, more links when they show up online (here’s the Twitter stream for Southcenter mentions). The Times doesn’t have a separate story yet but its home-page blurb says 2 victims have been taken to Harborview Medical Center; scanner traffic a few minutes ago also mentioned 2 victims. 5:01 PM UPDATE: KING says the person who shot 2 men at the mall is NOT in custody at this point; officers are continuing to search the mall in case he’s still in there. 5:22 PM UPDATE: First eyewitness account we’ve found is in a Daily Kos “diary,” of all places. “exiledfromTN” wrote:
Long story short, we were upstairs when we heard the shots. The mall was packed with people, and when the first shot went off, my Memphis upbringing told me immediately the noise was too loud to be anything else but shots. Everyone is looking around as if they’re all thinking, “WTF was that?” Then shots two and three go off, and there’s no question.
Times now has a standalone story, which says two other people were hospitalized besides the shooting victims – including “a pregnant woman who went into labor.” 6:06 PM UPDATE: Witness doing a phone interview on KIRO says it started after a fistfight between a group of young men who the witness said “looked 18, tops.” The two victims are described as “late teens/early twenties.” 7:06 PM UPDATE: One of the victims has died, according to the Times. 7:42 PM UPDATE: “WesCAddle” reports this in the comment section below:
We were there. In watching a movie at the new theater when about 30 minutes into it, they turned on all the lights and an usher came in and announced that we all needed to evacuate the mall. When we got out into the lobby of the theaters, the big metal gate was closed and we were told we would not be allowed to leave the theater. After about 10 minutes of standing around in the lobby (and watching police with automatic rifles running all over the place on the other side of the gates) the theater operators told us we could go back in and finish watching the movies, since it would probably be a while before we could leave.
Needless to say, we returned to the movie and finished it. When the movie ended they began letting people leave, and traffic was a nightmare. The police response was huge outside and inside the mall.
It was better than the movie.
ADDED 9:29 PM: We have an even more harrowing account from WSB’er “Jack Loblaw”:
My wife and I were at the Starbucks at Southcenter when the shooting occurred. We used to target shoot for hobby and knew by the second round fired that it was gunfire. Out daughter and her girlfriend ( 13 years old ) were at the theatre seeing “Twilight”. We ran for our lives. I looked back and saw that my wife had ran into Starbucks which was a trap with no way out. I ran back knowing that I could be shot and pulled her out and ran faster than I have ever run before. We got outside and I called 911. It took 45 seconds or more for them to answer. I told then that we were at Southcenter and 5 shots had been fired inside the mall. They said that there were multiple reports and that they were on it.
We were on the first floor and our kid was in the theatre on the top floor. We snaked our way up stairs and got to the theatre. There were just locking the doors of the theatre when we got there. I told them that our kids were inside and that we were not going to be locked out from them. They let us in; as I stood watch my wife searched theaters for the kids. They finally evacuated all the theaters but would not let us leave the lobby. They told us to go back into a theatre to which I replied “F-Off ” I just was in the line of fire and I refuse to be trapped in a box with no way to run.” We were held captive for what seems like an hour. Verizon cell phones DID NOT WORK. I used my AT&T Blackberry to start searching for information. I called a friend on AT&T to get info via the web. Finally we were let out.. There was at least 5 or 6 police officers with fully automatic weapons that we had to pass through on the way out. …
What is wrong with America that it is not safe to take our family to the mall ? We were just remarking 2 minutes before the shooting occurred that Southcenter looked like it had cleaned up its act and that it did not look like gang central — I guess we were wrong. Do we need to be armed to go out in public any more — ???
9:36 PM UPDATE: The person who was killed is identified (per the Times) as 16-year-old Daiquin L. Jones. 15-year-old Jermaine McGowen is the survivor. No arrest reported yet. 10:01 PM UPDATE: Channel 5 says the search inside the mall has just ended, no sign of the killer. 10:43 PM UPDATE: Later in that newscast, a relative of the victim told a reporter that the victim had just gotten out of jail “last Friday” – not clear if that meant yesterday or a week earlier. EARLY SUNDAY UPDATE: Times says Southcenter Mall will reopen today.