4 shot, including 3 kids, at Tanger outlet mall in Glendale

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 3:05 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:23 PM MST
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GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Four people were shot, including a 4-year-old boy, Wednesday afternoon at the Tanger Outlets near Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale. Just after 6 p.m. police said the lockdown at the outlet mall and the entertainment district has been lifted. Those who have loved ones at the mall can head to the Red Lot at State Farm Stadium to wait for them. Police said no suspects are on the loose.

Early reports were that five people were wounded. The Glendale Police Department updated that Thursday, saying four people had been shot -- a 4-year-old boy, his 27-year-old mom, a 17-year-old, and a 15-year-old. The teens were the ones shooting, police said.

The gunshots rang out around 2:45 p.m. at the mall near 95th Avenue and Glendale Avenue. Glendale Police Officer Tiffany Ngalula said a man was with a woman and a small child when he got into a fight with a group of young people and it escalated into a shootout. All three were taken to the hospital. “Our first officers on scene - they were very affected by it. I don’t know if they have children or not but as you can imagine, seeing a small child be struck by gunfire is very traumatic. They did do CPR but I can tell you that child is stable now,” Ngalula said.

Ngalula said none of them had life-threatening injuries. Two kids in the other group had been shot and were also driven to the hospital, Ngalula said. Their conditions weren’t released. “There are no outstanding suspects at this time. We believe we have everyone accounted for,” Ngalula said.

Running for cover

Austin Farr was in the food court when it happened. “We heard what sounded like possible gunshots and then there was a ton of people came running around the corner and they were screaming, a couple of people screamed, ‘he shot somebody,’ or ‘he’s shooting,’” he said. Farr then said he and his girlfriend took off running to the parking lot.

As they drove off, Farr said he saw somebody wearing all black near the freeway. “He had a backpack that he had dropped on the floor next to the concrete barrier that was on the side of the highway,” Farr said. “He started climbing the concrete barrier and ran down into the drainage ditch and cops started chasing him.”

While some got in their cars and drove off, others went into nearby stores. Employees tell Arizona’s Family they’re trained on helping people after a shooting. They knew to take people to the back, either a bathroom or dressing room and so that’s what they did. “They’re hiding right now. I don’t know if they’re in the back or in the dressing rooms or whatever but they’re hiding in the mall right now,” said Matt Peterson, who at the time had family sheltered in a store. About an hour later, police arrived at the stores and let them know the danger had passed so that they could come out and leave the area.

Another employee said she had about 30 people inside her store. “We did have the older folks in the room, and then we had a couple of children in the room as well, so for everybody to kind of keep still, for us to swiftly move the customers to the back of the house and keep them calm as well as us keeping calm while we’re trying to figure out what’s going on, I’m really proud, to be honest,” she said. The worker didn’t want to give her name for safety reasons.

Once officers set up a perimeter, they let people leave in their cars but opened their trunks up to check for anything and had them roll down their windows so they could see inside too. They were checking for anything potentially dangerous.

Multiple agencies are assisting Glendale police in the investigation, including the Phoenix branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fires and Explosives.

Previous incidents around the Westgate entertainment district

Wednesday’s shooting happened nearly two years after a shooting at Westgate Entertainment District, which is just east of Tanger Outlets, left three people hurt. On May 20, 2020, police say Armando Hernandez Jr. opened fire on people because he wanted to gain some respect. Authorities said he was targeting couples and wanted at least 10 victims and only shot three because his gun malfunctioned. He faces more than 40 felony charges.

Tanger Outlets has more than 90 brand name stores. It’s located just west of the Westgate Entertainment District. Gila River Arena and State Farm Arena are closeby.