Almost a year after South Carolina legislators tried to pass a bill that would permit gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, ten people were shot at a local mall and two others were injured. According to local news reports, the shooting happened at Columbiana Centre Mall, causing widespread panic as shoppers fled the popular destination in the state’s capital city.
A notice on the mall’s website said it would be closed until further notice.
“Ten people were wounded in a shooting at a mall in Columbia, South Carolina today,” Moms Demand Action tweeted. “Two people were wounded in a stampede as mall-goers attempted to flee the scene. Three people are in custody in connection to the shooting.”
During a press conference at the scene, police suggested the shooting was not a random act. Victims range from 15 to 73. The investigation remains underway, but reports indicate three people were detained on-site, with at least one person thought to be responsible for the shooting.
Earlier this afternoon, police officials reported that two of the people shot were in stable but critical condition. Two people were injured during a “stampede” after the shooting. It’s unclear if all three people were armed and involved in the shooting.
While the effort to legalize permitless carry in the state failed to move out of the legislature last year, Saturday’s shooting is a reminder of the real concerns surrounding gun violence and proactive measures to curtail violence. The shooting occurred on the 15th anniversary of the shooting at Virginia Tech, which claimed the lives of 32 people.
Opponents of permitless carry have argued that guns are even more available to those intending to commit criminal acts. A Columbiana Centre witness account reported by The State suggested that something like this was likely to happen at some point.
“Frankly, it was likely to happen at some point that we would live through an active shooter incident, and just when it would happen would be the question,” said graduating college senior Donna Birdsong to The State. “Growing up going through middle and high school, this is something that was always kind of on my mind whenever I was at school and even throughout college, just big groups of people in closed spaces.” (read more here)
The mall was full of shoppers on a holiday weekend, including families visiting the Easter bunny. A recent post on the Columbiana Centre’s Facebook page encouraged Black and business owners of color to apply for the Partner to Empower program from Brookfield Properties, which owns the mall.
Partner to Empower provides crucial funding for store build-out expenses — from construction costs to signage, flooring, and lighting. With $25 million committed for Partner to Empower, we’re committed to supporting equity within the retail industry and empowering Black and minority business owners.
Partner to Empower applications are now open for select properties through April 29, with additional application windows opening across the nation throughout the year.