Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This scared the crap out of me today...

It is the Christmas Season, and I have family that might have been shopping...




10 Dead in Omaha Mall Shooting

By OSKAR GARCIA – 6 hours ago

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A gunman opened fire Wednesday at a busy Omaha shopping mall, killing nine people before taking his own life, police said. Five more people were wounded, two critically.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A gunman opened fire Wednesday at a busy Omaha mall, wounding at least one person and forcing police to lock down the shopping center while they searched for the shooter.

It was not immediately clear whether the shooter was still inside the Westroads Mall or whether other people were hurt. Police refused to confirm any injuries or arrests.

A witness, Todd Trimpe, told Omaha television station KMTV that he saw police apprehend a man who was hiding under a bus stop bench outside the mall. Trimpe said the man was dressed in camouflage.

Keith Fidler, a Von Maur employee, said he heard a burst of five to six shots followed by 15 to 20 more rounds. Fidler said he huddled in the corner of the men's clothing department with about a dozen other employees until police yelled to get out of the store.

Fidler said he did not see the shooting but saw a person lying still by an elevator as he was leaving the store.

A woman who answered the phone at an Old Navy store said 20 to 30 customers were huddled with employees in a back storeroom.

"All we know was people were running and screaming down the hallway by Von Maur saying there was a shooting, and then they locked us down," said the woman, who said her name was Heidi.

Police were allowing some people to leave the mall, but no one was permitted to enter. Shortly after the shooting, a group of shoppers came out of the building with their hands raised, Some were still holding shopping bags.

Officers swept the parking lot and peered into vehicles, keeping people at a distance. A sheriff's deputy would not say what authorities were looking for.

Kevin Kleine, 29, who was shopping with her 4-year-old daughter, said she hid in a dressing room with four other shoppers and an employee.

"My knees rocked. I didn't know what to do, so I just ran with everybody else," Kleine said.

A witness, Shawn Vidlak, said he heard four or five rapid shots "like a nail gun." At first he thought it was noise from construction work going on at the mall.

"People started screaming about gunshots," Vidlak said. "I grabbed my wife and kids we got out of there as fast as we could."

Shopper Chol Khor said he was shopping inside J.C. Penney when the shooting occurred.

"I heard something like a balloon pop," he said. "Then two women came running into the store and said there had been a shooting."

President Bush was in town Wednesday for a fundraiser in Omaha, but left about an hour before the shooting.

The sprawling, three-level mall has more than 135 stores and restaurants, according to the Web site for General Growth Properties, the manager of the mall. It gets 14.5 million visitors every year, according to the Web site.

Associated Press Writers Anna Jo Bratton, Josh Funk and Eric Olson contributed to this report.

1 comment:

OldCoot said...

Several tragedies in one. Not the least of which is the fact that this young man had reached the point where he thought the best alternative he had was to take his own life (and the lives of others) in a final attempt at significance.

And of course, since good law-abiding citizens are expected to be unarmed and depend on the government to protect them (which is impossible), there was no one there to stop him.

"Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you."

An OldCorps Dad