BRAINTREE, Mass. — A person was hurt in a shooting at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Massachusetts, Friday, and two people are in custody following a brief manhunt, state police say.
Authorities say two male suspects were taken into custody a short distance from the mall where they had fled on foot, police said. The neighborhoods surrounding the plaza were urged to shelter in place and to report any suspicious activity to police while law enforcement could be seen walking through nearby backyards with guns drawn as they searched for the suspects.
Braintree police believe this is a targeted incident of violence, and it was not an "active shooter" incident.
The female victim was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Stores at the mall were placed on lockdown, police said, asking that everyone inside stores there remain inside. The shelter in place is still in effect, as police clear the plaza. Shoppers could be seen being escorted out of the mall by police.
A large police presence was seen at the mall as the situation developed.
Braintree police are asking everyone to avoid the area.
A woman who was shopping inside Macy's spoke with NBC10 Boston, saying she ducked inside a dressing room when a young girl came running through saying a man had a gun. After about eight minutes, the woman says she escaped through a side door, where police met her and told her to run.
"I never experienced anything like this in my entire life," she said. "It was the scariest thing I have ever seen in my entire life."
A woman who was working inside Nordstrom's at the time of the incident tells NBC10 Boston there was a large fight. She went to grab her phone to call police, at which time she says she heard the shooting. The mall employee then ran to the parking lot and was still visibly shaken when speaking to NBC10 Boston outside the mall.
"I just saw everything happen. I saw the guy shoot the gun. I don't remember what he looks like. I kind of like blacked out for a minute," she said. "I just saw them all fist fighting and screaming and then I heard shots and I just took cover and closed all the doors as soon as possible."
"Everyone just started running, screaming 'shooting, shooting, run!' So we all just ran out of the mall, down the hall, out the door. I didn't see anything. I heard one or two shots and then just ran," another man who was inside the mall at the time of the incident told NBC10 Boston.
The shooting prompted chaos and confusion at the mall, according to witnesses. So far police have only said the incident wasn't an "active shooter" incident; witnesses described a fight leading to gunshots.
Authorities have not yet said what they believe led to the shooting.
The incident comes at the start of the July Fourth holiday weekend, when many stores offer sales. And malls in Massachusetts were only able to reopen last month, after being closed like many other businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There was another shooting inside the South Shore Plaza mall three years ago. During the July 2017 incident, the Braintree mall was also put on lockdown and subsequently evacuated. Authorities said at the time that incident appeared to be related to gang activity, with two gang members happening to cross paths inside of Macy's.