‘In the moment, you just think ‘Oh my God, am I going to get shot?”: witnesses detail Fresno mall shooting

State News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Fresno Police are looking for a gunman involved in a shooting that occurred Saturday at Fashion Fair Mall in north Fresno.

Police said it happened just after 4 p.m. Investigators said it was not an active shooter incident but instead an argument that went wrong.

Surveillance video showed a group of men inside the mall. Police said one of them got into an argument with another man. Things escalated and the suspect pulled out a gun and shot multiple times at another man.

Police described the suspect as a Hispanic male believed to be in his 20s.

“At that point, the male, the shooter,” said Deputy Chief Mark Salazar, “ran through the mall and then out the mall.”

Police said the suspect ran out of the mall and took off in a black sedan.

No one was hit by the bullets, including the intended target, but one person is believed to have a broken leg after being trampled by the stampede of people escaping the mall.

Witnesses said once they heard the bullets things got chaotic.

“In the moment, you just think ‘Oh my god, am I going to get shot?” said witness Natalia Rubio. “Like is something going to happen to my friends?’ It was hectic. There were people falling on the floor. People stepping on other people”

“I was just like, ‘This way, let’s go, toward the back,” said mall employee Danielle Buhlke. “My initial reaction was just like, duck, hide, cover.”

“The mall was filled with people,” said Lt. Andre Benson. “As we were clearing the mall, we had families hiding inside of dressing rooms, bathrooms with their children, so it is very concerning.”

The mall does have security and typically there is a police officer in the area, but mall employees are asking for more security measures to prevent it in the future.

“It’s scary how unsafe a public place could be,” said Buhlke.

The mall closed for the rest of the day after the incident but was expected to reopen Sunday with a heavy police presence. Anyone with information is asked to call Fresno Police at 559-621-7000.

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