Shooting at Northern California mall was accidental, police say


The shooting that emptied the Great Mall in Milpitas on Saturday evening involved a man who accidentally shot himself, police said.

The 22-year-old man was initially thought to be a victim of a shooting at the mall, the Milpitas Police Department said.

For the record:

9:30 a.m. Dec. 21, 2020An earlier version of this article stated that the shooting was a suicide attempt. Police said it was an accidental shooting.

A news release issued by the police described the incident as involving “a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” Capt. John Torrez said the man was not trying to harm himself and fired the gun accidentally.


The man, a San Francisco resident, suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound and was taken to the hospital by paramedics.

The sound of gunfire disrupted holiday shopping for mall customers and employees who either fled the scene or sheltered in place at the Bay Area mall.

Police arrived at the mall at 5:16 p.m. after reports of a shooting outside Old Navy.

They instructed people inside stores to stay put as they searched for possible suspects and victims. Other law enforcement agencies and fire departments assisted, and people were escorted to the parking lot as their locations were deemed safe.

At 9:26 p.m. — more than four hours after they arrived — police announced on Twitter that they had concluded their search and that everyone in the mall had been escorted out. They did not find any additional victims, they said.

During the evacuations, two people had unrelated medical emergencies and were taken to the hospital.

By Sunday morning, detectives from the Milpitas Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit had determined that the man’s gunshot wound was self-inflicted.