OCALA, Fla. — A man died in a shooting at a shopping mall in central Florida two days before Christmas in which the victim was apparently “targeted” for the attack, police said.
Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken told reporters Saturday evening that the man was killed after he was shot multiple times in a common area at Paddock Mall in Ocala, located about 80 miles northwest of Orlando. A woman was shot in the leg, police said.
The suspect fled the scene and left behind the firearm, Balken said.
Police arrived at the mall around 3:40 p.m. after a call of multiple shots being fired at the mall.
“Officers immediately made entry into the mall (and) ultimately discovered that this was not what we would consider an active shooter,” Balken told reporters.
Several other mall patrons also suffered injuries during the shooting, with one person having chest pain and another reporting a broken arm, police said.
An email inquiry was sent to the mall’s owner, WPG. The mall has dozens of stores, including J.C. Penney and Foot Locker.
Calvin and Diana Amos, who were shopping in the J.C. Penney store, told the Ocala Star-Banner that they evacuated the store quickly once they figured out what was going on. They described themselves as scared and apprehensive.