Shots in Wash. mall after argument prove fatal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shots in Wash. mall after argument prove fatal

TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) - Shots erupted in a packed Seattle-area shopping mall Saturday after an apparent argument between a gunman and two other young men, killing one of the men, creating panic among shoppers and sending police on a store-to-store search for the shooter, authorities said.

The Southcenter Mall in Tukwila was locked down as police tried to find the gunman. Officer Mike Murphy, a police spokesman, told The Associated Press there were "thousands" of shoppers at the mall when the shooting took place just before 3:45 p.m.

The two injured men were taken to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, where one of them died. Murphy said he did not know the condition of the other victim.

The gunman used a pistol and fired multiple shots, Murphy said. At least two other people were detained for questioning, he said.

As police searched for the gunman, they allowed store employees and customers remaining in the mall to exit in groups, Murphy said. There was a possibility the assailant escaped with a crowd, he said.

The gunman and the two victims were all in their late teens or early 20s. No one else was injured, Murphy said.

SWAT teams from all over the area converged on the mall to help search for the suspect, who is believed to have gotten into an altercation with the two victims. Unknown was exactly what led to the shooting and the relationships of the shooter to the victims - or even between the two victims.

Chauncey Williams, a soldier from Fort Lewis, said he witnessed the shooting. He was exiting a store when he saw two men arguing and one start firing a gun, he said.

"It's like I'm back in Iraq or something," Williams told The Seattle Times.

Shopper Mark Nickels, 51, described the chaos after the shooting.

"Everybody just stopped," he said. "Everybody thought something fell. Then a second or two later, there was a second shot and then everybody scattered. People were running to the (exits) or running to the stores to hide."            

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)      

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