US police have arrested a suspect in connection with a shooting at a busy shopping mall in the US state of South Carolina that left 14 people injured.
Columbia Police Chief W.H. ‘Skip’ Holbrook said 22-year-old Jewayne M. Price, who was one of three people initially detained by law enforcement as a person of interest, remains in police custody and is expected to be charged with the unlawful carrying of a pistol.
It is not immediately known if Price has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Fourteen people were injured during the shooting at the Columbiana Centre, Chief Holbrook said in a news release on Saturday.
The victims ranged in age from 15 to 73.
Chief Holbrook said no fatalities have been reported but nine people were shot and five suffered injuries while attempting to flee the mall.
Police said the 73-year-old victim continues to receive medical treatment, but the others have been released from local hospitals.
“We don’t believe this was random,” Chief Holbrook said.
“We believe they knew each other and something led to the gunfire.”
Investigators believe that at least three suspects displayed firearms inside the mall but are working to determine how many fired weapons. Police said at least one firearm was seized.
Daniel Johnson said he and his family were visiting from Alabama and were eating in the food court when they heard shots ring out and saw people running.
“Everybody was trying to get outside,” Mr Johnson said.
“When I was coming out, you could see baby strollers turned over, people’s phones and left keys. It was kind of a hectic situation.”
A heavy police presence continued in the area hours after the shooting, though officers began letting more traffic through the streets surrounding the shopping centres and strip malls that are usually packed on weekends.
Officers were also stationed outside a nearby hotel designated as a reunification area for people at the scene of the shooting and their families.
“Today’s isolated, senseless act of violence is extremely upsetting and our thoughts are with everyone impacted,” Columbiana Centre said in a statement.
“We are grateful for the quick response and continued support of our security team and our partners in law enforcement.”
The shooting is the latest in a rash of similar incidents at or near shopping malls across the country.
A 15-year-old boy was shot in the head outside Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal Mall on Wednesday.
His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. Officials said he was with a group of boys when they got into a dispute with a second group.
On Tuesday, a Southern California shoe store owner mistakenly shot a nine-year-old girl while firing at two shoplifters at the Mall of Victor Valley, police said.
And earlier this month, police said six people were killed and 12 others wounded in Sacramento, California, during a gunfight between rival gangs as bars closed in a busy area near the Downtown Commons shopping mall and the state Capitol.