By Rikki King Herald Writer
EVERETT — A 26-year-old Everett man was arrested Tuesday evening after a shoplifting incident at the Everett Mall ended in gunfire.
The suspect suffered minor injuries while being disarmed by loss prevention officers during the 5:45 p.m. incident, Everett police spokesman Aaron Snell said.
The situation unfolded at the north end of the mall near the west entrance.
Louise Fellows, 72, of Lake Stevens, said she was returning a blouse to Macy’s when she heard “loud yelling and a struggle.”
She saw a man tackled by several mall security officers just inside the door. They were soon shouting at the man to drop his gun, Fellows said.
The man was yelling and struggling, too. In one hand he appeared to be holding a silver revolver, Fellows said.
“I saw the gun go off and there wasn’t anyone there (where it was aimed). It was so surreal to me,” she said.
Fellows said she jumped behind a counter. It all unfolded so quickly she didn’t see the man’s face.
“When I heard the cuffs go on, I figured everything was OK,” Fellows said.
Macy’s was locked down, and much of the parking lot was emptied while police investigated. Some other parts of the mall remained open on Tuesday evening, Snell said.
A handgun and bullet were recovered, and the suspect was “slightly injured,” he said.
People were running from the mall as officers arrived. Police treated the situation as a potential active-shooter scenario, Snell said. The Everett police south precinct is just a few blocks away.
Customers and employees were removed from the mall with police escorts.
Everett major crime detectives planned to interview the witnesses and employees, who in the hours after the shooting were being kept together away from crowds and confusion. A number could be seen behind the yellow crime-scene tape, waiting outside the building.
At one point, several Everett police officers also could be seen wrestling a man into the back of a patrol car. The man was wearing handcuffs. The man was expected to be booked for investigation of robbery and assault.
Shoplifting cases that turn into a scuffle often are prosecuted as robberies. Using a firearm during a robbery can add years to a sentence upon conviction.
For several hours, people continued to leave the mall, some carrying shopping bags. One family was seen walking to their vehicle with two small children. They all held hands.
Some drivers honked their horns at police and snapped cellphone pictures as they passed the scene.
Although witnesses reported that the suspect appeared to be with a woman before the scuffle broke out, police weren’t looking for any other suspects, Snell said.
Police also weren’t saying what the man was trying to steal.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org