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Northwest Indiana Mall Evacuated After Shooting, 3 Teens Arrested

Hobart, Ind. police cuff three teen suspects after a shooting inside Westfield South Lake Mall Saturday. (Twitter)

Hobart, Ind. police cuff three teen suspects after a shooting inside Westfield South Lake Mall Saturday. (Twitter)

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Updated: 11/11/12 at 12:07 p.m.

HOBART, Ind. (CBS)–Three juveniles were taken into custody Saturday evening after one of the teens fired a single shot into the ceiling of a Northwest Indiana shopping mall.

CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports this morning that two men face battery charges, and a third is charged with pointing a firearm, possession of a firearm without a permit, and battery.

Westfield Southlake Mall in Merrillville was temporarily evacuated after the 6:30 p.m. shooting, but shoppers later returned before the shopping center closed for the night.

The suspects – aged 14, 15 and 16 – allegedly began attacking another teen in a center court of the mall when bystanders tried to break up the fight. One of the suspects pulled a handgun and fired the shot into the ceiling, actually the concrete floor of the second floor.

The gun jammed, and on-site officers swarmed the teen aggressors and captured them, Hobart Police Chief Jeff White said.

“Fourteen, 15, 16 years old with a gun. There’s no excuse for it. None. Obviously, they have no clue what could have happened in a mall this busy and this crowded. They were right next to a merry-go-round – a bunch of kids with their parents,” White told reporters at the scene.

“I’ll tell you this: We’re not going to allow it. We’re going to have a heavy presence out here from this point all the way through the holidays,” he added.

Police say a fight at a basketball game earlier in the day at Miller Beach led to the fight at the mall.

The three alleged aggressors may spend the night in juvenile detention, depending on past criminal histories, police said.

Mall employee Eric Pittman said he’s not worried about what happened Saturday.

“I feel very comfortable working here, or coming here shopping – either or.”