Police searching for two suspects after shooting at Northwoods Mall

Police officers searching the mall following the shooting. (Picture provided)
Police officers searching the mall following the shooting. (Picture provided)
Picture of the suspect who fired the shot. (Source: NCPD)
Picture of the suspect who fired the shot. (Source: NCPD)
Police respond following a shooting at Northwoods Mall. (Source: Live 5 News)
Police respond following a shooting at Northwoods Mall. (Source: Live 5 News)

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police are searching for two suspects following a shooting at Northwoods Mall on Monday afternoon.

North Charleston police officials say shortly before 5:30 p.m. officers responded to the mall for a report of shots fired.

A police report states when officers arrived they learned two men were involved in some type of altercation inside of the Lim's men's clothing store.

Police say one of the men then took out a gun and fired a single shot inside of the store shattering the glass of the store and a nearby business.

Witnesses at the mall say they heard a "pop" then saw people running in the area of the Food Court. Police had earlier reported that they had believed the suspects had exchanged gunfire.

A report states both men then ran out of the business and into the mall.

North Charleston PD spokesman Spencer Pryor said officers arrived within three minutes of the call being dispatched and began to evacuate the mall while searching for the two suspects involved.

Pryor said the mall was eventually cleared and the suspects were not located inside.

Investigators describe the suspects as black males between 5'8" and 6-foot tall with one wearing a white shirt and white pants, and the other wearing a gray shirt, black shorts, and walked with a limp.

The police released a picture of the suspect who fired the shot.

Anyone with information on the suspects should contact North Charleston police at 843-740-2800 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.

At 7 p.m., store employees were escorted back inside of the mall to secure their businesses, police say.

Northwoods Mall officials announced that the mall would reopen on Tuesday at normal hours.

Pryor says there were no injuries from the actual shooting, although a woman who was running fell and scrapped her knee.

She was treated by EMS.

Authorities say an emergency call about the incident came in at 5:20 p.m.

Investigators say they will be in contact with the mall to get surveillance video.

"We hope that we'll be able to use that to our advantage to apprehend the two suspects," Pryor said.

In addition to North Charleston police, the following agencies assisted:  Hanahan PD, Charleston County Sheriff Office, SLED and SC Highway Patrol.

A helicopter was also called in to assist.

"We're here to serve and protect," Pryor said."So no matter what happens we are going to be there. We want our citizens to know that they are safe in the area of North Charleston and we are going to do whatever it takes to make sure that they are safe."

Employees, customers take cover 

Some employees and customers say they didn't hear the gunshot, but most saw people running after reported hearing a loud "pop."

Mina McCoy works at a nearby store and said she became aware of the incident when she saw a woman falling to the ground.

"I was ringing up a customer at the time and then a lady had fallen over in front of our store and I heard a pop," Mina said.

According to McCoy, someone said there was fight going on, and at that point she saw people running and she went to help the woman that fell.

Mina said her manager closed the store and took the woman who had fallen inside.

"We took care of her, then the police came and evacuated the stores," McCoy said."I'm really glad no one got injured."

Skye Summers was working at store on the other side of the mall.

"My first thought because I was on the clock I was like customers, I've got to get them to a safe point so my first thought was opening the back door, making sure everybody was safe," Summers said.

Everyone did remain safe from gunfire but at least one person was injured during the commotion.

"The lady she was on the floor and I think her leg was bleeding," McCoy  said.

Olivia Littue was shopping in JCPenny's when she and others were rushed into a room to hide.

"Whenever we were told to leave we had to walk in a single file line outside," Littue said. "The police officer that was guarding said 'did you see anyone in hiding,' which didn't make me feel safe that they were letting us leave, considering they were asking me if I saw anyone in hiding."

Lisa Bowman was just walking in the mall as people were running out.

"The police officers started running in with rifles, the security locked the store up, the front entrances," Bowman said.

Brandon Simmons was inside and had just arrived as well.

"Let's stop the gun violence man, let's put it down, just positivity you know," Simmons said. "No need for all this, we just want to enjoy life."

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