Three people were injured in a shooting inside Washington Square Mall on the east side of Indianapolis Wednesday evening.
The shooting happened around 6:30 p.m. in a corridor of the mall near the Target store. Investigators say a male suspect came into the mall and had words with a man he knew, then shot him. Two other victims were wounded by ricochet fire.
Police say the suspect and his intended target knew each other and had some sort of issue, but what that was, investigators aren’t saying.
“We have a pretty good idea that these two had something going on,” said IMPD Chief Brian Mahone.
While police aren’t saying what the issue was between the suspect and victim, they will say that none of it is related to recent high-profile police takedowns of drug suspects.
“This could have been a mall, a park, the gas station,” Mahone said. “This could have been anywhere that these two individuals ran into each other.”
This time, though, it was at a mall with innocent bystanders under gunfire.
“You should be able to be safe anywhere you go,” said witness Joshua Matthews.
Police say the three victims, two men and a woman, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, though one of the male victims was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Later Wednesday, police said the victims were all stable.
A suspect wearing dark clothing reportedly fled the scene to the west. Police say there may be a second suspect, but have not released any suspect descriptions. Police hope the victims of the shooting will be able to help them identify the shooter.
Officers say the parties involved in the shooting were all “young adults” and that no juveniles were involved in the incident.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene inside the mall on social media.
“People screaming. Parents trying to find their children. It was scary” – witness to Washington Square Mall shooting pic.twitter.com/92cpP31qoG
— Jennie Runevitch (@JennieWTHR) October 29, 2015
Never going to Washington square again.. Idk how someone can just pull a gun out and shoot someone. Scariest moment of my life
— Brooke Bell (@bell_brooke) October 28, 2015
Matthews said he was inside the mall with his three-year-old son when the suspect started shooting.
“Bullets don’t have a name. So it could get anybody,” said Joshua Mathews.
Matthews says as gunfire rang out, he picked up his son and started running.
“He just started crying and I just had to get him to safety,” explained Matthews.
He said he saw at least two of the victims fall to the ground.
“You could tell they were shot. So didn’t nobody have time to go back and see if they’re okay, because when you hear a gunshot, your first instinct is to run,” said Matthews.
So that’s what Matthews did, running through nearby Burlington Coat Factory and finally outside to his car.
Anyone with information about the shooting or possible suspect is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS or text “INDYCS” plus tip information to 274637 (CRIMES). All tips are considered anonymous.
Wednesday night, Washington Square Mall property manager Adrian T. Lewis Sr. issued the following statement:
We can confirm that a shooting occurred this evening at the Washington Square mall. The mall’s security staff and Indianapolis Police Department responded quickly. The mall is cooperating fully with the police’s investigation.
The safety of our shoppers and employees is our top priority. As part of our commitment to promoting a safe shopping environment, we maintain a highly-trained staff that is prepared to respond to a variety of emergency situations. We take numerous proactive measures and coordinate very closely with local officials as a best practice.
Our thoughts are with the victims and their families during this difficult time.