A 21-year-old gunman was shot dead by police after opening fire at a busy Alabama mall on Thursday night.
The shooting happened at 9.30pm on at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, a nearby suburb of Birmingham.
It started when the gunman, an unnamed 21-year-old from Hueytown, got into a fight with an 18-year-old boy.
It is unclear if they knew each other beforehand or if the fight was shopping-related.
Witnesses told WBRC in Alabama that the shooting happened ‘between JCPenney and Footaction near the food court.’
The gunman opened fire, injuring the 18-year-old and a 12-year-old girl who was nearby, then fled. He was shot dead by police at the scene.
Both victims were taken to hospitals and are expected to survive. The 12-year-old girl was shot once. None of the youngsters involved have been named.
The shooting sparked horror and panic among the crowds of bargain hunters who had flocked to the mall after Thanksgiving dinner to snap up discounts.
They took to social media in confusion to describe hearing shots in the mall.
It was unclear at first if it was an intended mass shooter.
Photos and videos of the mass panic caused by the shooting were shared on social media.
One Twitter user said: ‘I’m in the parking lot of the Riverchase Galleria in Alabama where a shooting just happened.
Videos posted to social media showed shoppers fleeing in terror as shots rang out at the mall following a fight between a young gunman and a teenage boy
‘I’m so shaky right now I’m sorry if I don’t make any sense. The suspect is dead. My prayers go out to those injured.’
Mall staff later tweeted: ‘We are devastated by the incident that happened tonight in our shopping center.
‘We are working closely with the Hoover Police Department and are grateful for their swift action to contain the situation.
‘While there is no current danger to our community, the shopping center will remain closed until further notice.’
An 18-year-old was taken to hospital in a ‘serious’ condition while a 12-year-old girl had to have emergency surgery
AN image posted to Twitter in the aftermath of the shooting