12 injured in shooting at South Carolina mall; 3 detained

Southeast

COLUMBIA, S.C. (NewsNation) — Ten people were shot and two others were injured in a shooting Saturday afternoon in a mall in South Carolina’s capital that authorities do not believe was a random attack.

Mall worker Raquel Eaddy said on “NewsNation Prime” the shooting was “one of the most traumatizing things ever.”

“What happened was we were assisting our customers, then all you heard was gunshots everywhere, that’s all you heard,” Eaddy said. “Immediately we ran and we kept running until we were safe. We were in the back even when the shots were still being fired.”

Three people who had firearms have been detained in connection with the shooting at Columbiana Centre, Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook said. He said at least one of those three people fired a weapon.

“We don’t believe this was random,” Holbrook said. “We believe they knew each other and something led to the gunfire.”

Authorities said no fatalities have been reported but that eight of the victims were taken to the hospital. Of those eight, two were in critical condition and six were in stable condition, Holbrook said. The victims ranged in age from 15 to 73, he said.

The mall was being evacuated store-by-store and police urged anyone still sheltering inside to call 911 so that authorities could find and evacuate them.

Eaddy said 13 or 14 people around her ran to the back of her store and waited until there until they were escorted out by police.

Although the shoe store Eaddy works at was a couple of stores down from the Gap where the shooting is believed to have started at, she said it sounded like the gunfire was ringing out just outside where she was.

“It was really devastating, it was just … there’s no words,” Eaddy said.

Returning to work is going to be a nerve-wracking experience, she said.

“Working in the public you don’t really know what is going to happen,” Eaddy said. “The only thing you can think of is just being safe.”

Cindy Paris Rectenwald and her daughter Rachel were inside the mall food court at the time of the shooting and said the first thing they did when they heard gunshots was run.

“My first thought was we didn’t know where the shooter was, we didn’t know if the shooter was coming down towards the food court,” Cindy said.

When the gunfire stopped they ran for their lives out of the building.

When Cindy hid under a table during the shooting, Rachel worried, unsure if she had been hit or had been trampled in the stampede out of the mall.

“My first thought was just get out of the door,” Rachel said. “I mean, we’ve got to just get out with everybody else because who knows what was happening inside.”

The pair was so shaken up after the incident that even after reaching their vehicle, they struggled to leave the parking lot amid all the pandemonium.

“We got in our car and we didn’t want to drive off because people were still running around the parking lot and our heart rate was so high we just didn’t want to get in the car and start driving, but we just sat there for a minute and just kind of gathered our thoughts until we felt like we could get behind the wheel and start driving.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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