An off-duty U.S. Secret Service agent was shot after he intervened in a fight in a crowded shopping mall food court Saturday evening, and he returned fire with his service weapon, wounding the shooter, police said.
In all, three people were shot during the melee, which sent shoppers ducking under tables and running for cover. The agent and the gunman were airlifted to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Their injuries were not life-threatening, police said.
The third wounded person, 16-year-old Tahzay Brown, was treated at Anne Arundel Medical Center for a gunshot wound to his leg. He was released before midnight Saturday, said Martha Harlan, a hospital spokeswoman.
Brown is a student at Annapolis High School, where he was involved in one of several fights that have drawn police to the school this year, his mother, Tanjala Brown, told The (Baltimore) Sun. She told the newspaper her son was jumped in September, and police never identified who attacked him.
The unidentified 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, said Officer Sara Schriver, an Anne Arundel County police spokeswoman.
“They all just started attacking one individual ... physically assaulting him, punching him,” Schriver said.
The agent tried to break up the fight, and someone in the group drew a gun and started firing, she said.
“He ran across the food court with his gun and was shooting at people,” witness Lindsay Busch told WJZ-TV.
The agent was wounded. After he was shot, he drew his service handgun and returned fire, wounding the gunman. It wasn’t clear who shot Brown, Schriver said.
‘We had families there’
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,” Schriver said.
Scott deGraffenreid, the mall’s marketing director, said video surveillance footage of the scene was turned over to police. He said mall management would not comment on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.
The mall was closed shortly after the shooting, and shoppers were ordered to leave over the public address system. Police tape was strewn around the food court, where meals sat unfinished on tables and personal property was left behind. Several tables were overturned, with food and drinks spilled on the floor.
Ray Leone, manager of the Borders Books & Music, which is located 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.
The Westfield Annapolis mall is located just west of the Annapolis city limits and has 270 stores including Macy’s, JCPenney and Abercrombie & Fitch.