Three Teens Charged In Fight At Mall In NW Ind.; One Still At Large
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HOBART, Ind. (STMW) – Three teens arrested at Westfield Southlake Mall on Saturday night are being detained at the Lake County Juvenile Center in Crown Point.
A fourth suspect, whose 14-year-old twin brother is in custody, is at large and being sought by Hobart police.
All four teens involved in the fight, which culminated with a gunshot into the ceiling, are residents of the Miller section of Gary, police said.
No one was wounded. The mall was closed after the shooting while police located suspects and witnesses.
The incident began with an argument about a basketball game that occurred some time ago.
Two victims, boys ages 13 and 14 who live on the west side of Gary, told police they were confronted by the four. Both victims were struck in the face and suffered bruises and swelling, police said.
As the fight continued, a 16-year-old fired a shot from a .32-caliber CZS handgun that uses factory-altered 7.62×25 rifle rounds. The gun jammed when the shell casing failed to eject, prohibiting the teen from firing additional shots.
He is charged with battery, carrying a handgun without a permit, pointing a loaded firearm and criminal recklessness. His case could be waived to adult court after a hearing before a juvenile judge.
The 14-year-old twin who is in custody and a 17-year-old are both charged with battery. The at-large teen will be charged also with battery.
Detective Nicholas Wardrip is leading the investigation.
A receptionist at the mall said the manager would not be available until Thursday to answer questions about what, if any, security changes the mall will make to avoid further violent outbreaks.
More than once in recent years, police and mall security have tried to gain control over large, roving groups of fighting teens. Often police ask radio dispatchers to call stores and restaurants surrounding the mall and ask them to lock their doors until crowds are dispersed.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)