The victim of a shooting behind Leigh Mall Thursday is now at a hospital in Jackson for treatment for his injuries.
Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton said the victim, a 28-year-old man authorities have not identified, was airlifted to Jackson Thursday night.
Officers with Columbus Police Department responded at about 3:50 p.m. to the shooting outside a rear entrance of Leigh Mall that reportedly involved two vehicles — a tan Honda and a white Dodge Charger or Nissan Maxima. Both vehicles sped from the scene after the incident, Shelton said.
By the time police arrived, both shooter and victim had already left the scene, according to a CPD press release. At least one suspect remains at-large.
Police received reports someone was injured in the shooting, Shelton said, and when officers arrived at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, they found the tan Honda parked outside the emergency room area. The vehicle appeared to have several bullet holes, Shelton said, and a black male inside the vehicle had at least one gunshot wound.
Following initial reports of the shooting, Shelton said the victim’s injuries were non-life threatening and that he was in stable condition. Shelton said Friday no one at Baptist had told him the victim’s condition changed, despite the victim’s being flown to a Jackson hospital.
The press release said investigators have interviewed the victim, who was uncooperative. Shelton said the victim was dropping off his girlfriend, who works at the mall, when the shooting occurred. Investigators believe the victim and shooter knew each other and that they had an altercation which led to the shooting. Authorities are still investigating the motive for the altercation.
Meanwhile, officers continue to seek the occupant, or occupants, of the white car.
City officials said there was no property damage to the mall.
At the scene
As police arrived to process the scene, a small crowd of onlookers that included shoppers and store employees gathered on the sidewalk at the mall’s back entrance. As investigators found more and more clusters of shell casings, blood and other evidence, officers had the crowd gradually back up until they were all behind the glass doors of the mall, staring out the window as police roped off the sidewalk and back parking lot.
Authorities told shoppers who wanted to leave to exit through the mall’s front entrance.
Officers placed markers around the parking spots closest to the back doors and on the other side of the sidewalk beside the bike rack, designating where casings had dropped.
Gossip flew between the crowd, as people arrived to see the commotion and then drifted off to other parts of the mall to continue their shopping or tell their coworkers what happened. Store managers arrived to check out the scene for themselves. Several employees said they were at work on the other side of the mall when they heard multiple shots. People wondered aloud how the victim was doing and when they’d be able to go to their vehicles, many of which were parked within the roped-off area.
Those who had parked within that area had to wait to leave. After about an hour — once investigators had marked off all the evidence and talked to at least one eyewitness — officers began escorting drivers to their vehicles.
Shelton asks anyone with information about the incident to contact Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers at 800-530-7151.
News Editor Isabelle Altman and Managing Editor Zack Plair contributed to this report.
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