ATLANTA (AP) — A shooting that wounded a man in a mall food court sent suburban Atlanta shoppers fleeing in panic Saturday.
The Cobb County Police Department said the man was wounded at Cumberland Mall around 1 p.m. after an argument and that the suspect ran away. The victim was taken to a hospital, where Cobb County police Officer Sarah O'Hara said he was in surgery and was "expected to survive his injuries."
Police said they have identified a suspect and are looking for him, but O'Hara provided no further details.
Three witnesses told The Associated Press they saw a man bleeding on the floor of the mall food court after shots were heard. None of the witnesses would identify themselves.
Videos posted online showed people with shopping bags running in all directions from the food court, with some hiding under counters and tables. Shoppers reported that store employees in some cases told them to hide in stockrooms. Police upon arriving evacuated people who were hiding.
Zyon Davis told WGCL-TV that he was shopping in a sporting goods store when he overheard two men arguing loudly at a deli in the food court. Davis said one of the men drew a gun.
"You heard the gunshots, probably two or three shots," Davis said.
In the aftermath, Davis said, some people pushed and shoved others to the ground as they ran.
"It was very chaotic," Davis said. "Everybody was running everywhere. Everything was a mess."
O'Hara said multiple shoppers were examined by paramedics because of panic attacks, and several pregnant women also sought examinations. She said a motorcycle officer was struck by another vehicle coming to the mall, and was treated for minor injuries and released.
Police said the shooting was "an isolated incident," calling it a dispute between people who knew each other and "not an active shooter event." They added that the original supervisor who arrived at the mall, "out of an abundance of caution," described the scene as an active shooter incident, meaning a gunman targeting numbers of people in a public place.
Jammal Jones, a 29-year-old Atlanta resident, said he was with his girlfriend eating in the food court when he saw the fight break out.
"You could tell somebody was like fighting. You could hear the sneakers. You could hear them screeching like on the basketball courts," Jones said, adding he ducked for cover when the gun went off. He described a scene of chaos, with people running after the fight broke out and then the gunfire.
"Everybody running and got out of there quick," he said. “It was just like, wow, that's crazy. I usually watch this sort of thing on YouTube and there it is happening in front of you."
The mall was closed for a time Saturday afternoon after the shooting, then reopened. O'Hara said shoppers left behind "copious amounts of items" while running away, urging people to claim them.
Cumberland Mall, in suburban Cobb County, is owned by Brookfield Properties, which manages more than 170 shopping centers across the United States. The mall has more than 1 million square feet of retail space and is anchored by Macy's and Costco. It's in a busy suburban business district, near where the Atlanta Braves play in their new stadium.
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