CALUMET CITY, Ill. (CBS) — Two teenagers were seriously wounded outside the River Oaks Center mall in Calumet City Thursday evening, prompting a lockdown at the mall.
Calumet City police Chief Christopher Fletcher said officers were called to the mall, at River Oaks Drive and Torrence Avenue, at 6 p.m.
Employees told CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar that a large group of what appeared to be teenagers were running through the mall – and then a short time later, the shots rang out.
Officers found two victims, an 18-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy, who had been “seriously wounded.”
Both were at a local hospital being treated Thursday night, Fletcher said. He said the shooting was not a random act of violence.
The mall was placed on lockdown after the shooting. CBS 2 was told that customers could not leave during the lockdown.
Employees told CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar that a large group of what appeared to be teenagers were running through the mall – and then a short time later, shots rang out.
“I’m doing make up for one of my clients and all you hear is, ‘Pow! Pow! Pow!’” said River Oaks Centre Macy’s employee Joy Watson.
“It started inside,” said mall employee Eva Rosales. “Whatever happened started inside, and it escalated outside.”
The employees described a scene of horror.
“All we heard was just a gunshot,” said mall employee Sheritta Glober. “And then a few minutes later, we saw a girl running, and it looked like she had been hit her leg. She was dripping blood.”
“A bunch of just teenagers running through the mall like, ‘We’re getting shot at!’ So we’re just getting really scared. We’re not knowing if we should leave or what. So everybody’s just like taking cover behind the counter,” added Watson.
It was unclear late Thursday what motivated the shooter to unload at least a dozen times in the parking lot.
“We were all anchored down, just really trying to figure out what was going on, and then making sure everything was safe,” Glober said.
“A lot of people were just yelling and screaming,” said Rosales.
“So finally, my job shut the door so everyone can be safe,” Watson said. “And you know, I’m still a little shaken up right now.”
In the middle of the shooting, the mall employees turned into protectors not only for their co-workers, but also the customers inside.
“You want to come and make a living. You don’t want to come to work and go through this,” Rosales said. “It’s like I’m done. I’m tired of this.”
“I’m feeling like I just want to go home,” said Glober.
The mall was set to be open for normal hours on Friday, but with an increased police presence.
No one was in custody in the shooting as of 10 p.m.
The incident happened as worries were high in the area after a driver plowed through the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg in a sport-utility vehicle back on Friday, Sept. 20.
Javier Garcia, 22, was charged in that case with terrorism, which Schaumburg police say is an act that causes substantial damage to a building with five or more businesses. The damage needs to be $100,000 or more.