Active shooter reported at Mayfair Mall, at least 8 injured and taken to hospital
( JSOnline )
Law enforcement descended on Mayfair mall in Wauwatosa Friday afternoon as reports of an active shooter sent shoppers and employees running for cover.
Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride confirmed an active shooter situation with a suspect who remained “at large.” None of the victims’ injuries appeared to be life-threatening, he said in a statement released to ABC News.
At least eight people were injured and taken to Froedtert Hospital, according to a police officer stationed outside the hospital.
A hospital spokeswoman said Froedtert Hospital and Children’s Wisconsin were notified of a shooting at Mayfair Mall shortly after 3 p.m. and both hospitals’ trauma teams were prepared to receive patients. She referred other questions about the number of victims to law enforcement.
Witnesses inside the mall reported hearing multiple gunshots about 3 p.m. that sent people fleeing for the exits or to other locations where they could safely shelter in place. Reporters at the scene and news helicopters captured video of at least four people being loaded into ambulances in the parking lot.
More than 40 police vehicles and 100 officers and agents from local and federal law enforcement — some in tactical gear and holding shields — could be seen outside the mall Friday evening.
The Milwaukee County medical examiner's office, which handles death investigations, was not called to the mall, indicating no one had died in the incident.
Officials are expected to release more information during a news conference shortly before 6 p.m.
A mall representative who answered the phone earlier Friday afternoon did not release any information or confirm a shooting had taken place, while a Wauwatosa police spokeswoman said she could not yet provide information.
Witness accounts: 'It was very terrifying'
When shots rang out, some people took cover inside stores and others ran out of the mall. The scene was still active two hours after the shooting occurred, with at least 40 police and emergency vehicles in the parking lot.
Paramedics took several people out of the mall on stretchers.
Waseem Dilshad, who arrived at the scene Friday afternoon, said his uncle was working at a kiosk near Macy’s when he was shot in the leg twice and was not in critical condition.
Dilshad’s cousin was working at the kiosk too and saw the shooting happen. He was on the phone with Dilshad at the time.
“He started cursing and yelling and said, ‘I’m going to call you back, there’s blood everywhere,” Dilshad said.
The uncle was taken to Froedtert Hospital, Dilshad said.
Dilshad’s cousin was still inside the mall as of 4:45 p.m.
Cecilila Guerrero, 20, of West Milwaukee, was sheltering inside the Offline clothing store inside Mayfair around 4:30 p.m.
She took cover in a back room with her sister, Anahi, a family of three and four store associates.
She didn’t hear any shots but her partner did, who made it out of the mall.
Guerrero said she had been in the locked room since around 2:50 p.m.
"It was very terrifying," Guerrero said. "I was very nervous at the beginning when we didn't know what was going on. But now that I'm safe and no one can get in, I'm OK. But it was very freaky and there was some panic."
Guerrero said even though these shootings are "more common" she didn't think it would happen there.
Steven Humphries jumped into protective mode when his 21-year-old daughter Nadia called him from work and said there was a shooting at the mall.
“I told her to get low and hide until I got there,” Humphries said.” I could hear the shots. I just took off.”
When Humphries got to the mall his daughter called him on FaceTime hiding in a hallway with others.
“There was quite a few people in the hallway,” Humphries said.
One of the first officers on the scene reported he had found at least two people who had been shot.
“Start EMS. Everyone seems to be coherent. It’s just in appendages. Nothing fatal at this point,” the officer radioed to dispatchers.
Latest in string of shootings
The shooting at the mall marks at least the fourth time this year multiple people have been wounded by gunfire in a single incident in the Milwaukee area.
In February, five workers at MolsonCoors’ Milwaukee brewery were fatally shot by a 51-year-old co-worker who then shot and killed himself.
Two months later, five people were shot and killed inside a Milwaukee home in what police described as an act of family violence. Christopher Stokes called 911 and told a dispatcher he had “just massacred my whole family” with a shotgun, according to court records. Stokes has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
In September, seven people were wounded when a car pulled up to a crowd of about 100 mourners gathering for a funeral on Milwaukee's north side and someone inside the vehicle opened fire.
The victims — three women and four men — survived their injuries. The funeral was for a recent homicide victim.
Mass shootings typically have been defined by the federal government as an incident having four fatal victims, but other, broader definitions have included shootings with at least four injuries.
The shooting on Friday also is at least the third time gunfire has been reported in or around the mall this year.
In February, Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah shot and killed 17-year-old Alvin Cole in the mall parking lot after police say Cole fired a shot while running from police. Prosecutors did not charge Mensah in the teen’s death and the officer has since signed a separation agreement with the force.
Last month, a person suffered a “self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg” in the parking lot during an incident that appeared to be drug-related, according to Tosa police.