GASTONIA, N.C. (WJZY) — The Gastonia Police Department has released new information regarding the shooting at Eastridge Mall that sent three people to the hospital last week.
According to police, what sparked the shootout at 12:10 p.m. on Friday was an argument between two people who knew each other.
Gastonia Police said an 18-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were walking into the mall on Friday when they came across a 17-year-old boy who the man knew.
Police said the two teenagers got into an argument, which escalated, leading to the 17-year-old firing shots at the 18-year-old and the woman. A 42-year-old man was also caught in the crossfire.
Police said the 18-year-old returned fire in the mall parking lot. He was is not being charged in this case due to the “act of self-defense,” police explained.
Following the shootout in the parking lot, the man, woman, and the 42-year-old ran to the food court area in the mall. All three were initially taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A discarded handgun found in the food court area belonged to the man, police said.
During the initial response on Friday, Gastonia officers were told that a possible suspect was seen running from the mall and into a nearby wooded area. Officers entered the woods and located the 17-year-old young man who was involved in the shooting.
A handgun was located in the woods near where the teenager was found, police said. The 17-year-old was taken into custody without incident and is facing multiple felony offenses.
Due to the defendant’s age, North Carolina law prohibits the release of his name and photo, Gastonia Police said.