Video: Shoppers react to deadly mall shooting

updated 10/9/2008 6:52:50 PM ET 2008-10-09T22:52:50

A customer in a Knoxville mall fatally shot a clothing store employee because he was upset about a previous clothing purchase, police said.

Suspect William Johnson, 42, went to Knoxville Center Mall Wednesday afternoon determined to get satisfaction from Reno Mens Wear, said Darrell DeBusk, spokesman for the Knoxville police.

Some mall merchants said the clothing store has a no-refund policy. Police wouldn’t say exactly what the suspect wanted or what the disputed merchandise was.

But police said a preliminary investigation suggested Johnson became upset, pulled out a handgun and shot 29-year-old employee Ahmed Nahl. Nahl, who was shot multiple times, died at the scene, police said.

Two uniformed Knoxville Police Department officers confronted Johnson as he left the store and exchanged gunfire, hitting him once in the arm and once in the leg, DeBusk said. No one else was hurt, and police recovered the suspect's handgun.

Johnson of Knoxville was charged with murder, aggravated kidnapping and two counts of attempted murder in the shootings, police said. He was taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center and was in stable condition.

The two officers involved in the gunfire were put on paid leave pending an investigation, as part of standard procedure.

Fleeing for cover
Witness Daniel Wiles, 34, said he saw a man about a hundred feet away with a handgun, heard nine shots and saw people begin fleeing for cover.

"I heard a single shot. Then immediately after that I heard eight additional shots. People started stampeding," said Wiles, who was at the mall to pay a cell phone bill.

Kay Jewelers assistant manager Cayla Corum said that before she heard gunshots a worker warned her to shut the gates to the store because of reports of someone carrying a gun in the mall.

"At first, it sounded like firecrackers going off," said Corum, 21. "Then everyone started running. ... I've never experienced anything like it in my life."

Corum said she heard two shots, a pause, and then "at least 15" shots.

The mall, owned by Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, closed early because of the shooting.

Mall manager Tim Hill said in a release that the company was "deeply saddened" by the tragedy, offered sympathy to the victim and his family and pledged full cooperation with authorities.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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