Oak Court Mall shooter still on the run, say police - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mall shooting started over gang argument, stolen shirt, say witnesses

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Dewon Avant is charged with theft of property and unlawful possession of a weapon. Dewon Avant is charged with theft of property and unlawful possession of a weapon.

(WMC-TV) – Thursday's shooting at Oak Court mall started with an argument over a previous gang shooting and a stolen shirt, according to witnesses cited in a Memphis Police Department incident report.

Theodis Pitchford was shot once in the stomach. Officers found him lying on the floor in the rear of The Loft. According to the incident report, Pitchford told police he had been shot by a guy named Otis, who also goes by O.J.

Police say they recovered a .40 caliber magazine with bullets in it from Pitchford.

Two witnesses told police they saw Pitchford and three men get into an argument with two suspects near the Essence kiosk. The first suspect pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Pitchford once. Then the gun jammed.

A separate set of witnesses told police that Pitchford and the men he was with had gotten into an argument with the other group of men last week over a gang shooting. At the mall, they were fighting over a stolen shirt.

Memphis police believe the shooter is still on the loose.

Shortly after the shooting Thursday evening, officers stopped a car at Tuckahoe Road and Goodlett Street. They believed the people inside were connected to the shooting.

A 19-year-old and three 17-year-olds were in the car. The three teens, one woman and two men, were taken to juvenile hall. The 19-year-old, Dewon Avant, was booked into 201 Poplar.

Avant is charged with theft of property and unlawful possession of a weapon. According to an affidavit of complaint, there were two stolen guns found in the car. One of the guns was from Arkansas and one was from Shelby County.

However, according to police, neither Avant nor the other three teens are believed to be the Oak Court Mall shooter.

Police are describing the shooter as a man between the ages of 21 and 22. He is 5'7" and weighs about 150 pounds. Police say the shooter was wearing an orange hoodie and has dreadlocks.

Investigators are still reviewing surveillance video.

In a statement sent to Action News 5, Oak Court Mall's general manager, Matt Beyerstedt, said:

"One of the key elements of Simon's comprehensive security program is to maintain a close relationship with local law enforcement authorities. We have a very good relationship with the Memphis Police Department and work side-by-side to make Oak Court Mall safe."

According to police, in a strange twist, a man wearing an orange hoodie showed up at Methodist South Hospital with a gunshot wound. He claimed to have been shot at the mall. Police say while his clothes matched that of the shooter he was not the shooter seen on mall surveillance video. Police also do not think he was actually shot at the mall.

Pitchford remains in the hospital.

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