A man has been arrested in connection with a shooting inside the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Massachusetts, that injured a teen bystander, police said.
Jose Rodriguez, 21, of Boston is facing multiple weapons and assault related charges. He is being held without bail at the Braintree Police Department, the agency said.
Officers swarmed the mall after receiving reports of shots fired shortly after 4:30p.m. on Friday. Police eventually said they believed it was a targeted incident of violence, not a random act or an "active shooter" incident.
A preliminary investigation revealed that a fight broke out between two groups of people that may know each other, which escalated into a shooting, police said in a news conference Friday evening.
About six to seven people were fighting in two groups, police said, and they had started to walk away before reengaging and ultimately shooting at each other.
A15-year-old girl was shot during the incident and was taken to a nearby hospital. According to police, the teen was not involved in the incident. Her injuries are described as non-life threatening.
Braintree police said two men, one of whom they identified as Rodriguez, fled the mall on foot but were taken into custody a short distance away after an extensive search involving police dogs.
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Police found a gun in bushes outside the plaza, and six shell casings were recovered at the scene of the shooting.
One of the men has been cleared and released, but police say the incident remains under investigation which may result in additional charges.
It wasn't immediately clear if Rodriguez had an attorney who could speak to the charges.
Stores at the mall were placed on lockdown, with shoppers slowly and carefully escorted out of the mall by police. Witnesses described chaos and confusion at the mall after the shots rang out.
The shooting comes at the start of the July Fourth holiday weekend, when many stores offer sales. And malls in Massachusetts were only able to reopen last month, after being closed like many other businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
South Shore Plaza was the scene of another shooting three years ago. In that incident, in July 2017, the Braintree mall was also put on lockdown and evacuated. Authorities said at the time that incident appeared to be related to gang activity, with two gang members happening to cross paths inside of Macy's.