A fight between four males evolved into a riot at the Christiana Mall on Saturday night, during which three people were shot, one inadvertently, according to the Delaware State Police. Reports of gunfire brought state troopers to the mall’s food court entrance at around 6:45 p.m. Shoppers ran in terror from the shooting.
What Do We Know About the Shooters and the Victims?
According to the police report, an 18-year-old male was approached by three individuals as he was exiting the food court. The victim was allegedly physically assaulted by the males. Two of the victim’s friends ran over to help, at which point one of the perpetrators drew a weapon from his waist and opened fire.
Three bullets hit the 18-year-old and his 16-year-old companion “in the chest and the lower limbs,” according to the police. One bullet struck the lower extremity of a third man, an 18-year-old who was standing on the pavement outside the mall.
After being rushed to the emergency room, all three are currently considered “stable.” Three boys in their late teens are suspected, according to the police. According to the police, they were wearing all black throughout the shooting.
Community Gathers in Prayer Near Mall Food Court
After a gunshot on Saturday night left three people dead and several more injured, local activists working to reduce gun violence met on Monday afternoon. Margaret Guy, who runs the non-profit Stop the Violence Prayer Chain and planned this event, has remarked that the tragedy she witnessed on Saturday goes to the very heart of why she works to end violence.
Her organization provides programs for kids aged 4 to 17 who are at risk of getting involved in negative behaviors like gangs and drugs. Guy added, “I had teenagers from my program shopping in the mall at that time,” and that she received frantic calls from terrified program members as a result.
Guy, relieved that none of the children in her program were hurt physically, expressed a desire to intervene in order to stop the violence and let everyone involved know that they have support. On Monday, you might see them praying, walking, and holding signs in Christiana Mall.
They prayed for everyone involved, including the adolescents who had been shot and the people who had done the shooting. “We pray that they get well and we pray that these people put these guns down, that these teens stop getting all of these guns,” Guy said.
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At the parking lot off of Mall Road, a small group of anti-violence activists gathered in a circle. As a group, they prayed for harmony, tolerance, and compassion. Some people entered the circle and talked about the importance of providing resources for families, improving access to mental health care, and limiting access to firearms.
Anne McWalter, the leader of Moms Demand Action in Delaware, stated that the group was present to show support for Guy’s efforts but is seeking additional legislative action to further restrict access to firearms in the First State.
The sale of assault weapons was banned, the minimum age to acquire most firearms was raised to 21, and gun manufacturers and dealers were made accountable for reckless or negligent activities that led to gun violence after they signed a package of measures addressing gun ownership and gun safety last year.
The group is advocating for the revival of the permit-to-purchase legislation that was introduced in the House but died in the Appropriations committee. If this bill were to become law, prospective gun buyers would need a permit, to be fingerprinted, and to undergo both firearms instruction and gun safety training.
As much as Walter would like, everyone to be able to get a gun, there are only “some people who should not have guns.” Guy’s advice to others trying to find out how to respond to what transpired at the mall was to carry on as usual. “Don’t let these people run you away from doing normal, happy, everyday things,” she said.
Mall-goers Recount Fears
People who were in the mall on Saturday night during the shooting described it as “terrifying.” Penny, a 13-year-old girl, spent the evening with her younger sister Lily, her brother Andy, and a family friend in Pennsylvania while their parents went out on a date.
Penny, who called her mother after hearing gunshots, expressed her fear that she was about to die. Her mother said the call was “the scariest thing I ever had to listen to.” Similar emotions were expressed by other mallgoers on social media and in person on Saturday night.
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