One dead and three injured in Christmas Eve shooting at Colorado Mall, marking the second consecutive day of gunfire at a US shopping center during the holiday shopping rush. According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, a confrontation between two groups led to the shooting that happened on Sunday at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs.
Officers swiftly responded just after 4:30 p.m. as holiday shoppers were making their last-minute purchases on what was anticipated to be the second-busiest shopping weekend of the year, following Black Friday. The Colorado shooting occurred just a day after a frightening incident in Ocala, Florida, where shoppers had to flee when gunfire erupted at a mall on Saturday, resulting in one fatality and another person being injured. This unfortunate event is yet another illustration of the disturbing prevalence of gun violence in day-to-day activities in the United States.
In Colorado, authorities discovered one man deceased within the mall premises, while two other men, each suffering from at least one gunshot wound, were transported to local hospitals in serious condition, as detailed in a police post on X, formerly known as Twitter. Also, a woman with minor injuries was taken to the hospital, underscoring the distressing impact of such incidents on innocent individuals.
The mall has been “cleared and closed,” the police department said. “There is no known threat to the community at this time.”
Law enforcement has not yet identified the shooter responsible for the incident. Police have detained several individuals at the mall, and investigators are actively working to ascertain their involvement in the incident.
"We do anticipate that we'll be on scene for a good part of the evening as we investigate and try to put together the pieces of what exactly happened here," CSPD spokesman Ira Cronin told the Denver GazetteSunday evening.
Authorities are investigating to determine if the shooter is among the victims. The mall is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday after the holiday break, as confirmed by the police.
Several police vehicles in front of the mall
A last-minute Christmas shopper happened to be inside Burlington when the shots were fired.
"I heard like, four at first, and then I see everybody running from the play gym area," a man identified as Travis told 11 News. "They were, like, telling everyone to get out and that's when they just unleashed, it was, like, I don't know how many gunshots there were after that. You hear about it all the time, but you don't ever think you're going to be there when it happens." Travis escaped the mall through an emergency exit, while othersopted to shelter in place, gripped by fear for their lives.
Heather Cunningham, who was shopping for new shoes for her son deeper inside the mall, shared her perspective, saying, "I thought maybe there was some fighting or something going on."
According to her account, chaos ensued as people screamed and ran. An employee told Heather and others, urging them to move to the rear of the store, saying that "something's going on."
The Vans employees were fantastic. They got us in the back of the store right away, locked everything, put the bolts on, and we were in the back, huddled back there, being quiet. It was so scary. I could still hear screaming and running outside of the Vans store.- Heather Cunningham