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(KTLA) — A SWAT team and police helicopters swarmed a major shopping mall that was evacuated in Torrance as the search for a gunman who wounded a victim inside the complex stretched into nighttime on Monday.
FOX40 sister station KTLA reports officers responded to a call about shots fired inside the massive Del Amo Fashion Center at 3525 West Carson St. just before 3 p.m., according to the Torrance Police Department.
A lockdown put in place shortly before 4 p.m. as shoppers and employees were evacuated remained in effect through the mall’s usual closing time, 9 p.m. A perimeter was also set up, with Plaza del Amo and Carson Street both closed between Madrona and Maple avenues until further notice.
The person shot was treated by first responders at the scene before being taken to a nearby hospital. The victim was expected to survive, officials said.
Investigators do not believe there are any additional victims. However, just after 5 p.m., Torrance Police Sgt. Ronald Harris said authorities were still “methodically” searching through the shopping center for other possible victims.
A Skechers employee who asked to remain unidentified said the shooting happened in front of the shoe store.
A man and woman were arguing when the shooter came up and shot the man, and the woman began screaming, the employee said.
Cellphone video captured inside the mall showed bystanders rushing to help the man and stop his bleeding.
Meanwhile, employees worked to secure their stores while getting themselves and their customers to safety, witnesses said.
Another Skechers employee who gave his name as OK said he heard a loud bang, then shoppers came running into the store.
“We just opened the back door, let everyone flood through and exit,” he told KTLA. “There was a couple families with kids, so we’re glad we got everyone out as fast as we could.”
Aerial video from KTLA’s Sky5 helicopter showed around a dozen police vehicles in the parking lot as groups of people walked away from the area around 3:30 p.m.
Police have described the suspect as a Hispanic man between 20 and 25 years of age. He is believed to have a shaved head and was wearing a black shirt and checkered shorts. Harris said he fled the scene.
Around 6:30 p.m., SWAT team members were seen searching an apartment complex in Torrance not far from the shopping center, aerial footage showed. Officials could be seen peering into potential hiding places with guns drawn, but no one was found.
However, Harris said he could not give information about a possible motive or the events leading up to the shooting.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents Torrance, said law enforcement officials from across the South Bay responded to the shooting.
Social media posts earlier in the afternoon had described an “active shooter” and graphic video from one user appeared to show a bloodied man lying on the floor of the mall.
Shooting at Del Amo mall. We’re currently on lockdown. This shouldn’t be the new normal, but it is.
— Dani (@Dani_Long_Legs_) June 3, 2019
🙏 please be safe whoever is at Del Amo Mall in Torrance
— JohnCendanuuuuhhh (@JohnCendana_) June 3, 2019
The Del Amo Fashion Center is a massive, sprawling complex of about 200 stores that has been described as one of the largest shopping centers in the U.S. — a local tourism organization claims it is the third largest in the country.
The mall is in the South Bay suburb of Torrance, about 15 miles south-southwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police at 310-328-3456.