AUSTIN, Texas (REUTERS) – An armed male in a fight inside a mall packed with Christmas shoppers in Charlotte, North Carolina, was shot by an off-duty officer working security and died at the scene on Thursday (Dec 24) , police said.
The officer heard shots among two groups of people who got into a fight and encountered the man, who pointed his weapon at the officer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney told a news conference. The officer shot the man.
It was not known if he had fired at the officer. “This is not a random act of violence,” Putney said of the incident.
He did not identify the man who died, or the officer, who has been placed on administrative leave, following police protocol.
Putney added that the fight was not gang-related and said weapons were found at the scene.
The mall was evacuated, but there was no continuing threat, said Jeff Keith, deputy director of the Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency. “With all the things that have occurred in this country in the past couple of years, we want to assure people that this is an isolated, specific event, not of any random nature,” he said, without commenting on the reports of the death.
The incident took place near a shoe store on the ground level, and at least two people were injured in a crush of people trying to flee the scene, authorities said.