According to authorities, a 33-year-old Los Angeles-area man argued with his ex-wife at a Southern California shopping center before shooting her to death and turning the gun on himself, driving shoppers to keep running into stores and out the exits on Saturday. He was injured and taken to a hospital and is now in critical condition, authorities said.
Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow reported that the man went to a store at The Oaks mall in the city of Thousand Oaks, around 40 miles west of Los Angeles, and had a contention with his 30-year-old ex-wife before shooting her.
The couple who were divorced have children, who are now safe, said Buschow, also saying that underlying signs show the shooting was a murder and attempted suicide.
The shots at the mall with open-air and indoor shopping space prompted some disarray and a lockdown.
Stephanie Fallon who is an employee in the Shopping center revealed to CBS Los Angeles that she sat in a storeroom for just about two hours.
“I was able to kind of look up some articles, then every few minutes, see if there were any updates,” said Fallon. (CBS Los Angeles)
17-year-old Jeffrey Simpson who was shopping with his mother at a department store when an announcement was made over the intercom about a threat outside the shopping center.
“I went to Nordstrom to get pants, and the next thing I know, the doors are being sealed,” Simpson told The Associated Press. (CBS Los Angeles)
He said he and his mother were somewhat shaken yet OK. They were in the store for over an hour however shoppers were allowed to move around and workers were helping individuals remain comfortable and calm, Simpson said.
Relatives who were at different areas in the shopping center when the shooting happened had tearful reunions when the chaos died down.
“We were stuck in a different store. We split up, so it was just hard not being with her,” said shopper Sherry Samuels with tears in her eyes after she found her daughter nearly two hours later. (CBS Los Angeles)
“I didn’t see the actual shooter, but I just saw, like, four shots — I heard four shots,” said teen Aman Sehra. (CBS Los Angeles)
“Then everyone started pushing each other down the stairs to run, and then people were screaming ‘gunshots. So my dad grabbed me and ran into Vans,” his brother Shawn said. (CBS Los Angeles)
Some who were in the shopping center stowed away and waited until the point that it was safe to come out.