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Bystander with gun helps stop suspect in Pa. mall shooting

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 1:17 AM AKDT
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LANCASTER, Pa. (WGAL) - A bystander with a legally owned gun took matters into their own hands and stopped a 16-year-old suspect after an armed fight broke out at a Pennsylvania mall.

Hana Ali, the owner of Tabarek International Foods, delayed opening her shop at Park City Center Mall in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, after Sunday’s shooting of four people. The Iraqi native says watching the violence unfold in front of her around 2:30 p.m. brought back horrible memories.

“It reminds me of the Desert Storm war when I was there. It was awful. The sounds of shooting, it’s really bringing things back to you. It’s so terrifying,” she said.

Police say a 16-year-old started the shooting after he was in a fight with another person. The teen pulled out a gun and fired several shots. Multiple people got involved in a struggle for the weapon, and the teen shot one person, according to police.

Police say a bystander with a legally possessed gun engaged the people fighting over the other weapon and fired shots, hitting the suspect and causing him to fall down.

Ali says she thinks the bystander’s actions made all the difference. She’s afraid the 16-year-old suspect might have continued shooting if the bystander hadn’t stopped the fight.

“I think that helped a lot. He is a good person, I think. I don’t know what he did before, but at that moment, he is the one that should be - he is a hero,” she said.

Police say three men and one woman, including the teenage suspect, were treated for gunshot wounds. Two women were also injured leaving the mall. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening.

The suspect was hospitalized and is in police custody. Police say formal charges against him are pending.

The armed bystander was interviewed and released at the scene. The district attorney will determine if their actions were lawful and justified.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

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