Update, 12/30/19, 7 a.m.: Police arrested 18-year-old Kamyl Xavier Garrette in connection with the shooting. They announced the arrest Saturday. Garrette is expected in court Monday.
A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed inside the JCPenney at the Town Center at Aurora Mall on Friday afternoon.
The incident is being investigated as a homicide.
The shooter used a handgun, according to Aurora Police Department spokesperson Anthony Camacho. There is no suspect in custody. The department received a call about the shooting at 4 p.m., he said.
Police first tweeted about the shooting a little before 4:30 p.m., adding that it was not an “active shooting incident” and to expect heavy police presence on the south side of the mall. The mall is located on East Alameda, near I-225.
Jalen Martin of Aurora told CPR News he was at the mall when heard people running toward him and saying someone was shooting. He said he didn’t see the shooter but he heard gunfire. He ran alongside others trying to flee the mall.
“It was people just running all over the place,” Martin said. He continued, “It’s like one of those moments where you’re like, you’ve heard of things like that happening and you’re like, that won’t happen to me. And then it does. And that’s why I was so scared.”
Though police were outside the JCPenney and mall security was trying to remove media from the area, people were coming and going from the mall, where stores were still open.
Briza Lopez, 17, told Denverite she arrived at the mall after the shooting.
“An employee there was telling me, ‘Are you OK, did you survive the shooting?'” she said. “And I was like, ‘Whoa, a shooting?'”
She left afterward, “because it’s kind of scary, sketchy to be here.”
Lu Garcia, who works at Q’Rico Cravings, said people were running scared through the mall. She was told the store could remain open.
The JCPenney will remain closed while police investigate, Camacho said.
This is the second shooting this month at the Town Center at Aurora, Camacho said. And in March, a 16-year-old was shot and killed in the parking lot.