COLUMBIA, Md (USA Today/WUSA) -- Three people are dead and four others injured after a shooting incident at the 'Mall in Columbia' in Maryland, police said.
Police were called around 11:15 a.m. for reports that shots were fired. When Police made entry, they found three dead in the store, Zumiez which is located on the upper level of the mall. One of the three dead is believed to be the suspected shooter, police said.
CNN is reporting that "preliminary information indicates the shooting may have been related to a domestic dispute," they were told by a federal official.
Police have identified one of the victims but are waiting to notify next-of-kin until they release the information.
During a press conference, the Police Chief said he does believe that the suspected shooter killed the two people and then killed him/her-self using a shotgun.
The suspected shooter was located by a gun and ammunition. Police said in a tweet, "One deceased subject located near gun and ammunition. ID unknown.
Police said there are no reports of any additional shots fired. They believe the mall is secure but everyone at the mall is advised to shelter in place. It may take a few hours to evacuate the people inside the mall in a safe and orderly manner. The mall has been closed to the public, police said.
Witnesses said they heard gunshots, setting off a scramble as shoppers fled the mall or ran to hide.
Ed Main was shopping at the Justice store with his son Noah, 15, his daughter Tori, 12, and his niece Ana Collins, 18, when they heard two loud pops. He said they were hustled by an employee into a storeroom in the back of the store. Main, from nearby Westminster, said the employee "shut the door and barricaded it from the inside."
It was more than an hour before they were able to exit the mall.
Laura McKinzles of Columbia works at a kiosk in the mall. She said she heard between eight and 10 gunshots, followed by people running and screaming. She ran into the backroom of a perfume store and locked the door.
Joan Harding, of Elkridge, was shopping with her husband, David, for a tiara for their granddaughter's 18th birthday. She said she heard something heavy falling, followed by gunshots and people running.
"My husband said, 'Get down!' and the girl that worked in the store said, 'Get in the back,' " Harding said. They hid there until police gave the all-clear.
The U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski said in a statement, "My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the vicitms in the Columbia Mall shootings as well as to those who remain in the mall under lockdown. Like all Marylanders, I am shocked and saddened by this incident. I have reached out to County Executive Ulman to offer appropriate federal assistance as he leads the community through this difficult time."
Police said this is an active crime scene and they do not have a motive for the shooting.
Howard County General Hospital received five patients from the shooting. One of the victims was shot during the incident. The other patients sustained injuries during the scene. Officials said, "All are being treated and are in good condition."
Police had tweeted earlier, "Two victims with minor injuries that were NOT directly related to the shooting were transported to HCGH. No other injuries reported." WUSA9 reporter on the scene says the two were taken to the hospital due to seizure and ankle injury.
Police will be holding another press conference at 4:00 p.m.
The mall will be closed "at least through tonight", police said.
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