FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – The search continues for suspects involved in a shooting outside Fashion Fair Mall that sent shoppers scrambling Saturday night.
The Fresno Police Department says the shooting was an isolated incident, sparked by a fight between two groups of men.
Both have been isolated incidents, but the recent rise in mass shootings is leaving a lot of people on edge.
Shoppers ran for the doors after the sound of gunshots echoed through the mall during this latest shooting.
Brianna Mercado works at Claire’s and says she immediately guided shoppers, including small children, to the backroom of the shop to shelter in place.
“It’s so surreal, it feels like you are watching a movie where everyone is running and screaming and there are kids that are crying,” said Brianna.
“It’s literally like your heart drops and you don’t blackout but it’s a period of panic.”
Fresno Police Department Lt. Rob Beckwith says 40 officers arrived at the mall within three minutes after the shooting was reported.
“The first thing we want to do is ensure the safety of all the shoppers there. So, there was an evacuation that took place but we were quickly able to determine the shooter had fled and there was no longer a threat to shoppers,” explained Lt. Beckwith.
Lt. Beckwith says they are still looking for the suspects and a potential victim who appeared to have been struck but took off.
Councilmember Tyler Maxwell hopes the isolated incident won’t deter families from going to the mall.
“If you are going to fashion fair looking for a fight, looking for trouble, don’t,” said Maxwell.
“We are going to have proactive patrols not just reactive, so officers out there engaging with people at the mall, making people feel safe and making it feel like a place people will want to shop at again.”
But Brianna says after experiencing the terror of two shootings while at work, she can’t help but consider transferring to a Claire’s somewhere else.
“We have to deal with people not wearing their masks right, we have to deal with people not complying with literally keeping people safe around you, and on top of that we have to deal with worrying if we will get shot or not working at our job,” said Brianna.
She and her coworkers are now grappling with a grim realization following this latest shooting.
“Literally in my head, I know it’s not okay for me to be like… I’m already used to this,” Brianna said.
Brianna says she hoped the mall would have communicated with employees after the shooting and possibly closed for a day.
Fresno Police say they do have surveillance video of the suspects but aren’t ready to release it to the public.