At least two people are dead and five others — including a police officer — are injured after a shopping mall shooting Monday in Boise, Idaho, authorities said.

At a news conference, Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said officers responded to a report of shots fired at Boise Towne Square shopping mall at about 1:50 p.m. The mall is located in Idaho’s largest city and is the city’s largest mall.

Police arrived and found a person who they believe was a suspect. Lee said that one officer was injured in the gunfire exchange.

Lee claimed that Lee believes one shooter was involved and said that suspect is currently in custody. 

The suspect is in critical condition, and the officer was treated and released according to Boise police. Police have not yet identified the motive.

“We really cannot at this time speak to any motivation behind it,” Lee said, calling any speculation premature. “I cannot stress enough how traumatic this event is for the community at large, as well as for those that were witnesses, or are the families of those involved or involved themselves.”

Andi Petersen (25 years old) was going to visit a friend, who works at the mall together with her boyfriend. She left through the Macy’s entrance to put some bags in her car. Two seconds later, gunshots were heard inside the mall.

“I’m from the city – I’m not familiar with the sound of gunshots,” she told USA TODAY. “My boyfriend, who’s from the country, knew right away.”

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Petersen, her boyfriend and a half-block away from a Halloween shop nearby ran and they heard 10 to 15 additional gunshots. Together with Halloween store workers, they locked themselves up inside the mall for approximately an hour, before police told them that they were allowed to go.

Petersen heard six shots from the street, just outside of the shopping center. 

“I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation until we left the mall, and then it sunk in,” she said. “And now we’re just trying to pick up the pieces of something that almost happened.”

Petersen, born and raised in Boise, would go to the Towne Square shopping mall every Black Friday and can recount memories of meeting new friends there.

“I don’t think I’ll ever step foot in that mall again,” she said.

“Which gunshot did I hear that killed somebody?” Petersen asked. “I’m going to have to live with that for the rest of my life.”

Officers closed a portion of the road just a quarter mile from the mall to investigate another crime scene in connection with the shooting. The officers at the second crime site declined to answer any questions, other than to confirm that it was connected to the shooting investigation.

Idaho Governor Brad Little described the shooting as “unimaginable” and tweeted Monday afternoon that he was praying for those hurt in the incident.

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People are pictured hugging outside the Boise Towne Square shopping mall in Boise, Idaho, after authorities said a shooting left 2 people dead and 4 others, including a police officer, injured Monday.

After the shooting, several witnesses stood in the rain outside the entrance to Macy’s — one of five large department stores at the mall — waiting to be interviewed by police or told they could leave. One section of the mall’s parking lot was filled by police vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks and other agencies.

The investigation was assisted by officers from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

One mall employee posted the video to Rumble. This online video platform allows users to upload multiple videos and hear the sounds ringing around the mall.

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean spoke at a news conference after the shooting. 

“As we think about those that were hurt today, my heart goes out to those who sheltered in place, those who saw this crime, those who weren’t sure if they’d see a loved one again,” she said.

McLean added: “I am deeply, deeply sorry for the pain and trauma you experienced.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

Source: USAToday.com

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