SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A man with a shotgun entered a shopping mall and began randomly shooting Monday night, killing five people and injuring many others before he was killed, police said.
More than three hours later, police still were searching stores for shocked shoppers and employees who were hunkered down awaiting a safe escort from Trolley Square.
“We have six fatalities and multiple victims at hospitals,” police Detective Robin Snyder said. “They were found throughout the mall. I don’t know male or female or ages.
At least four people were hospitalized, three in critical condition and one in serious condition, hospital spokesmen said. Two of the critically injured were males ages 16 and 50, a spokesman said.
Authorities offered few details about the shootings but said the gunman entered the mall about 6:45 p.m. MST.
The two-story mall, southeast of downtown, is a refurbished trolley barn, with a series of winding hallways and about 80 stores.
Antique store owner Barrett Dodds, 29, said he saw a man in a trenchcoat exchanging gunfire with a police officer outside a card store. The gunman, he said, was backed into a children’s clothing store.
“I saw the cops go in the store. I saw the shooter go down,” said Dodds, who watched from the second floor.
Barb McKeown, 60, of Washington, D.C., was in another antique shop when two frantic women ran in and reported gunshots.
“Then we heard shot after shot after shot _ loud, loud, loud,” said McKeown, saying she heard about 20. She and three other people hid under a staircase until it was safe to leave.
Many employees and shoppers _ “a lot of scared people” _ were still inside the mall hours after the shootings, waiting to leave, Snyder said.
“This is a huge area to cover,” she said.
Streets were blocked outside the mall as police swarmed the two-block scene. Dozens of people lingered on the sidewalk, many wrapped in blankets as they talked about what they had seen inside.
An off-duty officer from Ogden was in the mall and involved in the shooting, said Ogden police Sgt. Blaine Clifford, who declined to release the officer’s name.
The officer was not injured, but “I don’t know anything more,” Clifford said.