1 dead in Knoxville mall shooting

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) âÄî A customer opened fire in a crowded shopping mall Wednesday afternoon, killing a clothing store employee before he was shot and wounded by police officers, authorities said. Witnesses said the gunfire sent people âÄústampedingâÄù for cover. The employee was shot multiple times around 4:20 p.m. EDT after a confrontation with the customer and died at Knoxville Center Mall, police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said. No other injuries were reported. Two uniformed Knoxville Police Department officers confronted the suspect and exchanged gunfire with him as he exited Reno Menswear, DeBusk said. The suspect was taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center, where a nursing supervisor said she didnâÄôt have a report on his condition. Police didnâÄôt release the names of the customer or the suspect. Witness Daniel Wiles said he saw a man about a hundred feet away with a handgun, heard nine shots and saw people begin fleeing for cover. âÄúI heard a single shot. Then immediately after that I heard eight additional shots. People started stampeding,âÄù said Wiles, who was at the mall to pay a cell phone bill. Kay Jewelers assistant manager Cayla Corum said that before she heard gun shots a worker warned her to shut the gates to the store because of reports of someone carrying a gun in the mall. âÄúAt first, it sounded like firecrackers going off,âÄù said Corum, 21. âÄúThen everyone started running … IâÄôve never experienced anything like it in my life.âÄù Corum said she heard two shots, a pause, and then âÄúat least 15âÄù shots. The mall closed for the night about 1 1/2 hours after the shooting. Witnesses said se veral of the mallâÄôs stores closed their gates as a precaution when shots were heard. Knoxville Center Mall is owned by Simon Property Group of Indianapolis. A spokesman did not immediately return a phone message for comment.