Police swarm Del Amo mall in Torrance after gunman opens fire

LOS ANGELES — Police are searching for a suspect in the shooting of a person Monday afternoon at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance.

The Torrance Police Department responded at 2:56 p.m. to reports of shots fired at the mall at 3525 Carson St.

Upon arrival, they found one victim with a gunshot wound, who was taken to a hospital. No further details have been made available about the victim.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation identified the suspect as a male Latino between 20 and 25 with a shaved head, wearing a black shirt and checkered shorts.

Officers and a SWAT team are on scene clearing the area, and detectives are conducting a follow-up investigation.

Law enforcement sources said shots broke out near the mall’s food court and that one person was injured.

A video posted to social media showed a person bleeding on the floor of the shopping center as other mallgoers appear to be trying to stop the bleeding.

A source said police believe the gunman either fled or is hiding in the mall.

Some shoppers said on social media that they heard shots. But the law enforcement sources said they don’t consider the situation an active shooting at this time.

Police departments across the South Bay were helping Torrance police at the mall, Hawthorne Police Chief Michael Ishii said.

South Bay law enforcement agencies are going store to store, checking possible hiding places and retrieving those sheltering in place.

Shoppers said the mall had been evacuated, but some shoppers and workers remain barricaded inside.

Outside the mall, employees and customers lingered, waiting to be picked up or for the evacuation to be lifted. Some mall doors remained open, and bystanders lounged by the doors inside the mall. A group of people were locked inside a restaurant.

Employees said they heard one loud bang before police rushed into the mall, minutes later.

Claudia Barrera, an employee at a skincare boutique, said she heard a bang, followed by two people running into her store to tell her there had been a shooting.

She and other employees locked the doors. About 15 minutes later, officials in SWAT gear evacuated everyone in the boutique.

“People stormed out,” she said. “Less than five minutes later, Torrance Police Department was [at] the doors.”

Shana Alexander, who works at the Body Shop, said she heard one loud shot.

An alarm came over the speaker system telling people to leave the mall, she said.

“Everyone started running out of the mall,” Alexander said.

She said about 50 officers were inside, and employees at nearby shops barricaded themselves until police escorted them out.

Robert Reyes, 47, of Bell said his older sister was inside the mall when she heard gunfire.

Reyes said his sister was hiding with several other people, including children, inside a closet in a makeup store.

“She just grabbed my niece and started running, and she went into the first store that she saw,” he said.

Olivia Campbell, 23, had just left after grabbing lunch at the food court when she saw about 15 people running out of the mall. Two people almost got hit by cars trying to flee, she said.

“I literally just missed it, which is crazy,” Campbell said. “You think about all the people you saw in the food court before it happened.”

Per: Times

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