One person was shot Thursday evening inside a crowded Oak Court Mall in East Memphis Thursday evening.
The victim was shot near the entrance by Dillard's and Macy's department stores.
The shooting took place at round 5:45 p.m. and the mall was locked down for a brief time. Mall management closed the mall for the rest of the evening while Memphis Police processed the crime scene.
The victim was rushed to Regional One Health and is listed in critical condition.
Two people were initially detained by Memphis Police after a brief chase east of the mall that ended at Goodlett and Tuckahoe near Poplar Avenue. About two hours after the shooting, a police spokeswoman said two others have been detained.
The four suspects have not been charged.
Witnesses say they believe the victim was targeted and it appeared the shooting started outside the mall as some kind of argument at a nearby gas station. The argument then spilled inside the mall.
A police spokesperson said the suspects and the victim knew each other.
After the shooting, Oak Court Mall General Manager Matt Beyerstedt shared this statement with FOX13 News:
"There was a security incident and one victim was taken to the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and their family. Customers and employees are leaving the mall, which will be closed for the rest of the evening, while the police further investigate this incident. For more information, please contact the Memphis Police Department directly at (901) 636-3700."
Panicked mall patrons and employees ran for cover inside stores and for the exits as Memphis Police officers ran in with their guns drawn.
Firefighters rushed the gunshot victim out of the Oak Court Mall and into a waiting ambulance as police officers watched.
Mall patrons said it was chaos.
"Once we heard the shooting we just ran out," said Bridgette Jones, who was working in the food court at the time of the shooting.
There was a massive police response. At first the officers didn't know what they were heading into. They treated it as an active shooter situation splitting into teams and pushing their way into Oak Court Mall.
Police swept the mall for the shooters, but the suspects escaped in a car. Minutes later officers stopped four suspects nearby east of the mall.
"It was scary, people running everywhere," Jones said. "Kids, moms, you know people just running everywhere out of their jobs, you know, because we had to get out of the mal. It was really, really scary."
Police officers, firefighters and mall employees have trained for these types of situations. Many of the shoppers were shocked by what happened.
"There were just people running everywhere," Anner Turley said. "Didn't know what to do, whether to run or to stand still but everybody was just running. I was dazed. I didn't know what to do."
The chaos at Oak Court Mall ended after police chased the suspects to a nearby neighborhood at the intersection of Goodlett and Tuckahoe, east of the mall off Poplar Avenue.
Police were on scene for hours searching a white four-door Lincoln Town Car for evidence.. blocking off a major intersection right during rush hour as people were headed home for the day.
Police had all four lanes of Goodlett blocked off for hours earlier, not letting anyone through -- including the residents who live in the neighborhood. The temporary shutdown near the mall caused headaches for motorists trying to get home.
"I'm trying to get home actually from the mall," said Akili Jackson works, who works at Oak Court Mall. "It was pretty hectic, pretty crazy but it's cleared out now."
Jackson was headed home from the frantic scene, only to hit a road block less than a mile from the shooting.
"Frantic, nervous, nobody really knew where to go,, what to do, or what was going on," she said. "Especially for the people that worked there because we didn't know how long to stay before we could close the store or anything."
One after one confused drivers were told to turn around and head the other way as police searched a white Lincoln Town Car for clues.
"I go this way everyday, and I saw the lights," said Jessica Horner. "I didn't know. I thought it might've been a wreck or something, but I thought it was something small."
Crime scene tape was blocking the road and four suspects were detained. The scene was a stark contrast to this community full of gated homes.
"This area has always been very secure."
The cause of the shooting remains under investigation.
Memphis Police say a man has been shot inside Oak Court Mall in East Memphis.
The mall is on lock-down.
The shooting took place near the entrance by Dillard's and Macy's department stores.
Police say one victim has been shot. Officers have at least two possible suspects in custody. There is no condition report at this time.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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