Police searched for the suspect in a shootout at a suburban Milwaukee mall Friday night that left seven adults and a teenager injured.
Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber gave no reason for the attack on Mayfair Mall in a brief update about three hours after the 2:50 p.m. incident near a Macy’s store entrance. He said the extent of the injuries to the eight victims was unknown, but they were all alive. He added that the shooter was “no longer at the scene” when the authorities arrived.
“Preliminary witness statements indicate the shooter is a white male in his twenties or thirties,” Weber told reporters. “Investigators are working to determine the identity of this suspect.”
The chief called the mall an active crime scene and asked people to stay away. He said the mall will remain closed until further notice.
Witnesses told WISN-TV that they heard what they believed to be eight to twelve shots. Some people remained in the mall while the police searched for a suspect. The station interviewed several people outside the mall who said they had friends sheltered inside the stores while the search was ongoing.
Jill Wooley was inside Macy’s with her 79-year-old mother when they heard eight to 12 gunshots just outside the store entrance.
“We heard the first shot and immediately knew it was a shot,” Wooley told CBS58 in Milwaukee. “We both fell to the ground.”
Wooley said she hadn’t seen anyone but the plans were “very close”. She added that they ran in the opposite direction to the store’s basement, where they then hid.
19-year-old nephew of Trish Cox works at the Finish Line sporting goods store. She said she was worried because the store phone was not getting answered and was frantic waiting for FBI agents to evacuate the mall.
An officer who did not give his name said the mall was “methodically” cleaned. Heavily armed FBI members were visible at the mall.
The operator of the Brookfield Properties shopping center said in a statement it was “disheartened and angry that our customers and tenants have been the victims of this violent incident today.” They declined further comments.
The Mayfair Mall was the site of a shootout in February in which a town policeman, Joseph Mensah, shot and killed Alvin Cole, a 17-year-old black youth. Police said Cole was fleeing from police; Mensah, who is also black, said he shot Cole because Cole pointed a gun at him. The mall was the target of sporadic protests for several months following the shooting.
The Milwaukee County district attorney refused to press charges against Mensah, but the city agreed to a separation agreement this week in which Mensah will be paid at least $ 130,000 to leave the force.