By Biodun Busari
A 16-year-old girl, Za’Lill D’Chelle Patterson was shot in the leg when she attempted to steal from a popcorn store inside Northpark Mall in Ridgeland, Mississippi, United States.
The incident happened on Saturday when Patterson pulled a gun on the owner of the popcorn store that she was trying to steal from.
However, the teenager was the one who ended up as the victim as the shop owner was smarter, pulling out a gun and shooting her in the leg in self-defence.
CBS said the gunshots which occurred around 5:20 pm threw the neighbourhood into panic as at the time people were spending time outside.
One of the witnesses, Cathy Courtney was inside the mall with her 15-year-old when the shooting happened.
“It was several shots, and we all just froze. We were all kind of ducking down, and people started to run. There was an employee hiding in the bathroom. I mean people were terrified for their life,” Courtney said.
A mall employee, Jayce Alyse recounted, “Here they come, shooting. Pow! Pow! I heard eight or nine shots because I’m a manager up here. Customers came to the back, and we let them out because we’re scared. Then, that’s when I saw it. The girl, she was laying right there. She was shot and hopped down there in front of our building. I was scared. I was scared.”
According to Ridgeland Police Chief Brian Myers, Patterson was brought to a local hospital before being booked into the Madison County Detention Center on an aggravated assault with a weapon charge.
The teen is set to be charged as an adult. Myers also shared that the store owner, interviewed by the police, was seemingly cooperative.
“This is not good. I will say that we’ve never had something like this inside the mall. We don’t want to see or allow it. We will take action,” stated Myers.
In a press release, the Ridgeland Police Department stated, “We are so fortunate that no one else was injured in this incident. Special thanks to the City of Madison Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department for their prompt response to assist the Ridgeland Police Department with this incident as it was occurring.”