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Teen victim identified in Mall of America shooting

Johntae Raymon Hudson, 19, of St. Paul, Minnesota, died from multiple gunshot wounds in Friday's shooting, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

Authorities have identified a 19-year-old man fatally shot Friday in a department store in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, as Johntae Raymon Hudson.

Hudson, of St. Paul, died from “multiple gunshot wounds,” the Hennepin County medical examiner said in a statement.

Johntae Raymon Hudson.
Johntae Raymon Hudson.Courtesy Ja'Nayea Hudson via KARE

A statement on a GoFundMe page created by Hudson's family described his positivity and caring nature.

“Johntae was the most loving and caring person to his family and friends. He radiated positive and fun energy and his smile lit up the room. He was an overall great person and we want to give him the funeral he deserves.”

Hudson’s family could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

NBC affiliate KARE of Minneapolis spoke to Hudson's sister, Ja'Nayea Hudson.

“He was supposed to go to the mall to find, like, a sweater to go with his shoes to go to his friend’s birthday that night,” Hudson, 22, told the station.

She said her younger brother's killing does not seem real.

“I just try to act like he’s still here,” Hudson said.

Hudson also told KARE that when she learned her brother had been shot, she held out hope he would survive.

“At first I just hoped like it was just like a minor bullet wound or something. I didn’t think nothing too serious about it, until, like, they said they were trying to find a pulse, so I just assumed the worst but I was hoping for the best,” she said.

Johntae Hudson was trying to apply for college, his sister said.

The shooting occurred in a department store in the country’s largest mall on the day before Christmas Eve, Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges said.

Hodges announced five arrests Saturday, three of them 17 years old and two of them 18 years old. Police said they are confident they arrested at least one shooter, but officials have not ruled out a second gunman.

Hodges said Saturday that authorities hadn't determined a motive and that the people arrested appeared to be uncooperative.

"We know the how, the where, the what and the who. We don’t know the why,” Hodges said. 

Bloomington police could not be reached for comment Monday.

Mall security video recorded the altercation, which took place between two groups of five to nine people. During the fight, a man pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots at the victim, Hodges said Saturday.

The shooting happened shortly before 8 p.m., and the mall was placed on lockdown. The mall tweeted at 10:10 p.m. that the lockdown was being lifted.

A bullet grazed a bystander’s coat, Hodges said, but no other injuries were reported.

Several members of the New York Giants, who played the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, were in the Mall of America when the shooting occurred. A few players were in the mall, and several others were in the team’s meal room, a meeting-type room just outside their hotel, which is adjacent to the mall. No one from the team was harmed.

“Your first thought is, obviously, once yourself is safe, you think about your teammates,” wide receiver Darius Slayton said. “There’s guys that could have been shopping. Some guys in their room, some people are everywhere. So, obviously, your next thought is all your teammates are OK, which they were.”

The mall, which opened in 1992, experimented with metal detectors at some of its entrances this year, KARE reported.

The mall told the station then that it was testing options “that may allow us to further enhance” security systems.

Earlier this year, a man fired three shots in front of a store in the mall, KARE reported.