Shots fired in fight at crowded Atlanta mall spark panic; 1 injured

"It was a fight that escalated and got out of control," Cobb County Fire Department spokeswoman Denell Boyd said.

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By David K. Li

Gunfire erupted inside a busy mall near Atlanta on Saturday afternoon, wounding one person and sending scores of holiday shoppers fleeing, authorities said.

Shots were fired at about 1:18 p.m. around the food court of the Cumberland Mall in Cobb County, about 14 miles north of downtown Atlanta, officials said.

"It was a fight that escalated and got out of control" before one person was shot, Cobb County Fire Department spokeswoman Denell Boyd told NBC News.

The victim was identified as Ethan Green, 18, who was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Police said a 21-year-old man named Anthony Ezell was being considered the victim of aggravated assault because he was held at gunpoint, though he did not sustain any injuries.

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Cobb County police tweeted at 1:50 p.m. there was "no active shooter."

"We are continuing to gather information but this is not an active shooter event," police said. "It appears this was an isolated incident."

Zaire Dhanoolal, 18, and Joweer Ponce, 19, were arrested Sunday as suspects in the shooting.

Dhanoolal was charged with two counts of aggravated assault while Ponce is facing one count each of reckless conduct and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, according to authorities.

Aside from Green, no one else was injured, according to a mall spokeswoman.

"An altercation between three individuals escalated this afternoon in our food court," said Lindsay Kahn, a rep for mall owners Brookfield Properties.

"While we are disheartened by this isolated incident, we are grateful there were no further injuries and that our security and partners at the Cobb County Police Department were on site to contain the situation. This was a frightening experience for our tenants and guests and we are assisting the police with their developing investigation."

Multiple police agencies from the Atlanta area responded to the scene, as shoppers streamed out of the mall.

One Instagram user posted video of the chaotic scene, as shoppers "started running like crazy."

"We just came to get some Chinese food," the shopper wrote, "then all hell broke lose."