1 dead, 3 injured in shooting at shopping mall in El Paso, Texas
(CNN) — One person is dead and three others injured after a shooting Wednesday evening at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, according to police.
Two men are in custody and there is no longer a threat to the public, interim El Paso Police Chief Peter Pacillas said at a news conference Wednesday night.
“It was chaotic. People did flee. They were scared,” police Sgt. Robert Gomez said.
Two male victims were brought to the University Medical Center of El Paso in critical condition, the hospital confirmed to CNN. The condition of the third male victim, who Gomez said was also hospitalized, is unclear.
The mall is immediately adjacent to a Walmart where a shooting in 2019 killed 23 and left nearly two dozen more injured. The 24-year-old gunman pleaded guilty to 90 federal charges last week as part of a plea deal.
So far this year, there have been more than 70 mass shootings across the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Both CNN and GVA define a “mass shooting” as a shooting that injured or killed four or more people, not including the shooter.
Police responded to the Cielo Vista Mall shortly after 5 p.m. local time Wednesday after receiving several reports of a possible active shooter, Gomez said. Authorities asked people to avoid the area as the scene was still active.
The scene was later secured but police and law enforcement from several agencies were still working to clear the mall Wednesday night, Gomez said, noting that it may take some time given the size of the shopping center.
Investigators preliminarily believe the shooting took place around the mall’s food court, Gomez said.
Robert Gonzalez was in the mall and told CNN he “saw people running to the exit.”
Videos taken by Gonzalez show several mall storefronts closed with their security gates down and several law enforcement vehicles outside as an ambulance arrives. Video from another witness also showed an ambulance arriving.
Gonzalez said he was able to make it safely to his car, where he was waiting to leave as he spoke with CNN. He recalled the 2019 mass shooting, saying today’s experience “just brought back bad memories.”
A reunification center has been set up at nearby Burges High School, where people who are unable to contact their loved ones may go for information, Gomez said.