Police Arrest Two Men In Utah Mall Shooting That Wounded Two
Two 19-year-old men have been arrested in connection with a shooting that wounded two people outside a Utah shopping mall and scattered hundreds of terrified shoppers, police said Monday.
Authorities said it was a gang-related fight that involved about a dozen people and shots fired from both sides, but no bystanders were hit or injured.
A fire alarm that sent people running for the exits went off by accident, a malfunction the mall had been dealing with for a couple days, said Kenny Bass, a police spokesman in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray.
Investigators are still looking for everyone else involved in the fight and also searching for any witnesses, Bass said. The two men who are under arrest are both being held on suspicion of aggravated murder, but police aren't yet sure if either fired the shots that hit the victims, he said.
The brawl started when two groups from rival gangs crossed paths in the mall Sunday afternoon, and the argument became physical after it spilled outside, he said.
One of the two victims, a woman in her early 20s, was treated and released hours after the shooting broke out, Bass said.
A man, also in his early 20s, remains hospitalized in critical condition.
The suspects were identified as Jesus J. Payan-Mendoza and Jorge C. Gonzalez. No attorney was listed in court records for either man.
The gunfire erupted around 1:30 p.m. outside Fashion Place Mall, sending panicked shoppers fleeing. Shoppers reported hearing fire alarms and orders over a loudspeaker to evacuate, while employees said they hunkered down in stockrooms and waited.
Fashion Place is a popular shopping center in the heart of the Salt Lake City metro area. It was open Monday.
A 2007 shooting at a different Salt Lake City mall killed five people and wounded four others. The 18-year-old gunman was killed in a shootout with police.