NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) –North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess said detectives are actively following up with leads from the community as they investigate Sunday’s shooting at Northwoods Mall.
He said the department will also work with the mall’s management group to develop an action plan to ‘provide more deterrent effects’ when it comes to safety.
Authorities responded to the mall on St. Valentine’s Day, after receiving reports of shots fired just after 1:30 p.m.
They say three victims, including one woman, one girl, and one man, were found suffering from gunshot wounds inside the mall, which occurred in the common area – or food court.
Two of the victims sustained “minor injuries” and were located inside a back room of “H&M” with several employees. A juvenile victim suffered a graze wound. The other victim, a 34-year-old female, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. On-site staff and law enforcement fashioned a tourniquet until EMS arrived.
A third victim, a 20-year-old male, was found outside “Belk” suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. All three victims were transported to Trident Medical, their conditions remained unknown Monday afternoon.
NCPD says the three victims were innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. They say the suspect was firing at an unidentified individual.
“The incident yesterday at Northwoods Mall is a stark and tragic reminder that, as an entire community, we need to take a holistic approach to eliminate gun violence on our streets, in our homes, and in our city’s businesses,” said Chief Burgess in a statement on Monday.
He said the shootings that have occurred at the mall in recent years, “have each been the result of individuals, or groups of individuals, who have a conflict with one another and decide that the way to solve their conflicts is through violence.”
A spokesperson from the management group of Northwoods Mall says officials are working to evaluate safety plans and measures in place to ensure shopper and employee safety.
“You know we do have a fully staffed security who is there 24/7 so we always have our own security staff onsite as well as local police departments who are there any way we know that they do have their schedule shifted to come and browse the mall,” says Kristina Circelli. “In light of this incident, we are also increasing our security presence through our staff and local police department.”
Chief Burgess said North Charleston police officers work every day to prevent gun violence in the city through proactive patrols, focused enforcement, and other crime control strategies.
“North Charleston Police along with CBL Properties Mall Management are conducting meetings to discuss what occurred on Sunday. Together, we will develop an Action Plan that will provide more deterrent effects throughout the Mall properties,” said Chief Burgess. “Our goals are the same and that is to provide a peaceful environment for all to enjoy their shopping experience. The above strategies are effective, in part, but more community help is needed to keep firearms from the hands of criminals and change the perception that violence is the way to solve conflict. It is not acceptable to tolerate this type of violence at any level in our community and the police department remains committed to reducing violence in our city.”
Authorities released an image of the suspect and are asking for information from the public. Anyone with information should call the North Charleston Police Department or Crime Stoppers of the Lowcountry at 843-554-1111.
“NCPD is not aware of any changes to the victims’ conditions,” said Chief Burgess.