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#4213 – local news

3 shot in Annapolis, Md., mall food court, 1 critically wounded

By Ben Greene

ASSOCIATED PRESS

7:13 p.m. November 18, 2006

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Three people were shot during what appeared to be a gangland-style confrontation in the food court of a shopping mall Saturday evening, and one was critically wounded.

Ray Leone, manager of the Borders Books & Music, said he heard at least 10 gunshots. Several of his employees were in the food court at the time of the shooting, and they told him an elderly couple was hit by stray bullets.

Dozens of people ran into the store after the shots rang out and were “very panicked,” Leone said. Two victims, including the most seriously injured, were flown to area hospitals, said Lt. Roy Phillips, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County fire department. The third was driven to a local hospital, Phillips said.

Two of the victims were male, and Phillips did not know the gender of the third victim.

Video surveillance footage of the scene was turned over to police, said Scott deGraffenreid, the mall’s marketing director. He said mall management would not comment on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

The Westfield Annapolis mall is just west of the Annapolis city limits and has 270 stores including Macy’s, JCPenney and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Secret Service agent wounded in triple shooting at US mall food court

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland: An off-duty Secret Service agent was shot after intervening in a fight in a shopping mall food court, and he returned fire, wounding the shooter, police said.

A third person was also shot in the melee Saturday evening, and all were hospitalized in stable condition, said Officer Sara Schriver, an Anne Arundel County police spokeswoman.

The agent was at the Westfield Annapolis mall with his family shortly after 7 p.m. when he saw a group of men attacking another man, Schriver said.

“They all just started attacking one individual … physically assaulting him, punching him,” she said.

The agent tried to break up the fight, and someone in the group drew a gun and started firing, she said. After the agent was shot, he drew his handgun and returned fire, wounding the shooter, police said. A third person was shot during the gunfight, but it was not clear who shot that person, Schriver said.

The agent and the shooter were flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. The third victim was driven to a local hospital. Their identities were not released.

Federal Agent Among 3 Shot at Md. Mall

By BEN GREENE

The Associated Press

Saturday, November 18, 2006; 11:51 PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — An off-duty Secret Service agent was shot after intervening in a fight in a shopping mall food court Saturday evening, and he returned fire, wounding the shooter, police said.

A third person was also shot in the melee, and all were hospitalized in stable condition late Saturday, said Officer Sara Schriver, an Anne Arundel County police spokeswoman.

Anne Arundel County Public Information Officer Sara Schriver talks to reporters after a triple shooting at Westfield Annapolis Mall, Friday Nov. 18, 2006, in Annapolis, Md. Three people were shot during what appeared to be a gangland-style confrontation in the food court of the shopping mall Saturday evening, and one was critically wounded.

The agent was at the Westfield Annapolis mall with his family shortly after 7 p.m. when he saw a group of men attacking another man, Schriver said.

“They all just started attacking one individual … physically assaulting him, punching him,” she said.

The agent tried to break up the fight, and someone in the group drew a gun and started firing, she said. After the agent was shot, he drew his handgun and returned fire, wounding the shooter, police said. A third person was shot during the gunfight, but it was not clear who shot that person, Schriver said.

The agent and the shooter were flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. The third victim was driven to a local hospital.

Their identities were not released.

Dozens of people witnessed what Schriver characterized as “a very traumatic and terrorizing incident.”

“We had families there and juveniles, (a) typical Saturday night for you at the mall,” she said.

Video surveillance footage of the scene was turned over to police, said Scott deGraffenreid, the mall’s marketing director. He said mall management would not comment on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

Ray Leone, manager of the Borders Books & Music across from the food court, said he heard at least 10 gunshots, and dozens of people ran into his store in a panic.

“It’s really not very normal, way out of the commonplace,” he said.

Four shot at Annapolis mall

By RYAN BAGWELL and JOSHUA STEWART Staff Writers

Secret Service agent wounded when he tries to stop fight.

At least four people were shot at the crowded Annapolis mall last night, including an off-duty Secret Service agent who opened fire on a teen involved in a food court gunfight.

At least six shots rang out just after 7:15 p.m. near the Cingular wireless store in the Westfield Annapolis mall, police and witnesses said, sending hordes of panicked shoppers running for cover.

The gunfire erupted after a group of young men started fighting with another young man, said Officer Sara Schriver, a county police spokesman. The Secret Service agent, who was at the mall with his family, tried to break it up, she said.

One person in the group pulled out a gun – possibly a revolver – and shot the agent, police said. The wounded agent fired back and was able hit the assailant.

Somehow two other people were hit in the melee, police said. Three were in stable condition at area hospitals last night and the fourth was treated for a graze wound.

Police said they are investigating whether the mall fight is linked to neighborhood rivalries that led to seven arrests at Annapolis High on Friday.

The agent and the first teen were flown to the Shock-Trauma Center at University Hospital in Baltimore. The others were taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center, said Capt. Tim Bowman, the county police department’s night watch commander.

A source in the Secret Service said the agent is assigned to the presidential protection division, but Kim Bruce, a Secret Service spokesman, couldn’t confirm that information last night.

Capt. Bowman said both the assailant and person being harassed were teenagers.

No arrests had been made as of last night.

Witnesses described a scene of pure chaos as a wave of Saturday night mallgoers fled the packed food court, dropping trays, merchandise and even knocking over racks of clothes on their way.

Some ducked behind support columns for cover, and others just took off.

Fourteen-year-old Brandy Hubbard was ordering a soda at Chick-fil-A when she saw eight or nine people run to the Cingular cell phone store.

“We were looking over there and we said, ‘what the heck,’ ” she said, “And then we heard gunshots and started running.”

Tiffany Hardy, a Centerville teen, was eating dinner in the Red Robin restaurant when the gunfight started. “I heard gunshots, and everyone got down,” she said, teary eyed. “Then everyone ran out.”

Police cordoned off the food court entrance with yellow police tape as they collected evidence and took witnesses away for interviews.

Confused shoppers stared at the sea of empty chairs and cold food, wondering what took place.

Scott deGraffenreid, a mall spokesman, would only say mall employees are cooperating with police. They turned over surveillance tapes to investigators, he said.

Police said the food court probably will reopen today.

CNN video

Police Investigate Shootout at Mall in Annapolis

Off-Duty Secret Service Agent, Two Others Wounded

By Eric Rich

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, November 19, 2006; 1:48 PM

Police are investigating whether a gun battle at a Annapolis mall food court last night that left three people, including an off-duty Secret Service agent, wounded had its beginnings in a series of fights at Annapolis High School on Friday.

Nine students were arrested as a result of three fights at the school, which police attributed to “neighborhood rivalries.” Police said the fights did not appear to be gang related.

The fight yesterday broke out amid panicked diners in the food court of the Annapolis mall, according to police and witnesses.

According to preliminary accounts, as the agent entered the food court shortly after 7 p.m., he saw one young man being attacked by a group of six young men. The agent tried to intervene, and one member of the group, an 18-year-old, drew a handgun and opened fire first, wounding the agent, said Officer Sara Schriver, an Anne Arundel County police spokeswoman.

The agent returned fire, shooting the gunman, Schriver said. A third person, a 16-year-old youth, was also hit by gunfire. It was not immediately clear if he was the youth being assaulted or a bystander and who had shot him.

The police did not release identifications of the agent or the other people injured. The agent and the 18-year-old were taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Schriver said neither suffered life-threatening injuries. At least one other person was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center.

“It was a pretty chaotic scene,” a food court employee said.

At first, he said, he heard what sounded like one or two shots, not much louder than a balloon popping. A dozen more followed.

“When you hear 10 or 12 shots, you don’t know what’s going on,” he said. Some people, he said, threw themselves on the floor, but most “just ran out of the food court.” He said food was left on tables and strewn about the floor.

A Westfield Annapolis official said in a statement that the mall does not comment on ongoing investigations. Mall officials said the mall, which has more than 200 stores and is just west of the Annapolis city limits, remained open until its normal 9:30 p.m. closing time.

Staff writers Clarence Williams and Martin Weil contributed to this report.