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Shooting at Alabama mall kills 8-year-old, injures three others

Authorities continue their investigation of a shooting at Riverchase Galleria Wednesday in Hoover, Ala.
Authorities investigate a shooting that left an 8-year-old boy dead and three other people hospitalized Wednesday at the Riverchase Galleria shopping mall in Hoover, Ala.
(Carol Robinson / Associated Press)

An 8-year-old boy was killed Friday in a shooting at a Hoover, Ala., shopping mall that left three other people injured, police said.

Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis said the child was killed in an afternoon shooting at the Riverchase Galleria. The police chief said a girl and two adults were also hospitalized after the shooting. Authorities did not release the victims’ names.

Police did not give a motive for the shooting. Derzis said police are working promising leads but did not say if they had identified suspects.

“This is certainly a tragic situation, when you have an innocent child who gets caught in the middle of an altercation between others,” Derzis said.

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Multiple shots were reported near the food court inside the mall, police said.

“We don’t know at this point what led to the shooting or how many gunmen were involved,” Capt. Gregg Rector said in an earlier news release.

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said he visited with the boy’s parents Friday evening.

A button that experts believe was from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was found inside a time capsule beneath the base of a Confederate monument.

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“This was just a very senseless tragedy, and of course they are devastated by this,” Brocato said. He asked residents in the city to pray for the family.

The mall was evacuated after the shooting. Hoover police asked anyone who witnessed the shooting to call authorities.

Annalisa Pope, who works at the Hollister clothing store in the mall, told WBMA-TV in a telephone interview that she heard six to seven shots fired.

“It wasn’t just one or two,” she said. The gunshots “sounded like they were coming from every direction.”

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“It felt so close,” Pope added. “It was so surreal. It doesn’t even feel real right now. You wouldn’t expect something like that to happen out of nowhere on a normal, Friday afternoon.”

The mall in suburban Birmingham was the site of a 2018 police shooting, when an officer fatally shot a Black man after mistaking him for the gunman in an earlier shooting at the mall. That shooting of 21-year-old Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. prompted a series of protests at the mall. The Alabama attorney general’s office cleared the officer, saying he had acted “reasonably under the circumstances” in the encounter, which spanned approximately five seconds.


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