One person was killed and three others were hurt in a shooting at a mall in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday night, police said. People ran or hid because of the shooting, which happened in the same area where three years ago there was a mass shooting in a store just down the road.
Interim El Paso Police Chief Peter Pacillas said Wednesday night that two men were taken into custody after the gunfire in the Cielo Vista Mall. The police haven’t said anything about the possible reasons. Police Sgt. Robert Gomez said –
“It was chaotic. People did flee. They were scared.”
Surveillance footage from a bar inside the mall showed more than a dozen people running away from the sound of gunshots and, later, paramedics bringing in a stretcher.
Pacillas said that all four people who were shot were men. CNN was told by the University Medical Center of El Paso that two of the people who were hurt were brought there in very bad shape. Gomez said that the third person who was hurt was also taken to the hospital, but no one knows how they are doing.
Many shootings have occurred recently, and we’ve reported on them all for you:
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The mall is right next to a Walmart where a shooting in 2019 killed 23 people and hurt almost as many more. As part of a deal, the gunman, who is 24 years old, pleaded guilty to 90 federal charges last week.
The shooting on Wednesday is just one more example of how gunfire has made many Americans feel less safe in public places like shopping malls, grocery stores, and schools.
The Gun Violence Archive says that there have been more than 70 mass shootings in the United States so far this year. CNN and the archive both say that a “mass shooting” is a shooting that hurts or kills at least four people other than the shooter.
Robert Gonzalez told CNN that he was at the mall on Wednesday and during the shooting. He said that on Wednesday, he saw people “running to the exit,” and a video he took inside the mall shows that the security gates on several storefronts were down. A second video shows police standing at the door outside.
“I was working (at the mall) the last time this happened with the Walmart shooting so it just brought back bad memories,” Gonzalez said.
Gomez said that investigators have a good idea that the shooting happened near the food court on the upper level of the mall.
Marie Hall had just started her shift at a salad shop in the food court when she heard gunshots, she told CNN affiliate KFOX. She said that she ran to the back of the restaurant and hid in a walk-in refrigerator with two customers and another employee.
She told the affiliate –
“Nothing prepares you for that.”
“I didn’t really feel safe (going to work) in the beginning because of the shooting in 2019. … It is definitely going to be more difficult to be going in to work.”
Pacillas said that an off-duty police officer working security in one of the mall’s stores was able to get to the scene in three minutes and arrest a person. He didn’t say when, where, or how he caught the second person.
El Paso police, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the US Border Patrol were among the law enforcement agencies that went to the scene. They worked through the night to clear the building and start a preliminary investigation, police said.
The FBI is helping with the investigation and has set up a website where people can send in photos and videos of what happened.
Even some people who were not there when the shooting on Wednesday happened feel like it has opened up old wounds.
Albert Hernandez, whose sister Maribel and brother-in-law Leo Campos were killed in the 2019 shooting, told KFOX that he thinks political leaders are “not accepting the full scope of the situation” and are “numb to what’s going on.”
Hernandez said –
“We felt the same feelings come back to us as the day of the Walmart shooting. Everything comes back and we’re just wondering, now what? How many people are going to get hurt?”