Richmond man arrested, charged in Southpark Mall shooting

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- A 20-year-old Richmond man has been arrested and charged for allegedly shooting a man inside a store at the Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights Saturday afternoon.

Jerry L. Brooks Jr.

Officials said Jerry L. Brooks Jr. was taken into custody without incident by the U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force in the 3900 block of Ladbroke Court in Richmond. He has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

The shooting prompted a lockdown at Southpark Mall after two men got into an altercation and one shot was fired inside the PacSun store, according to police.

“The victim and the shooter knew each other,” CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil said citing police.

The victim, who suffered one gunshot wound to the chest, was transported to VCU Medical Center and was in critical condition at last check.

After the shooting, witnesses said the suspect fled the mall.

"He is not on the Southpark Mall Property," Covil said. "He has fled the area. Police are confident that he is not here."

The mall and the movie theater were evacuated. As of 2:50 p.m., some shoppers said they were still locked inside stores.

"A few areas near the center court remain closed as officers are on scene investigating the incident," police said in a news release.

The mall reopened just before 4 p.m., but officials said some stores remained closed. As of 6 p.m. officials said all stores were back open except PacSun.

Police determined through investigation that the shooting was an isolated incident.

Brooks is currently being held at Riverside Regional Jail without bond and will appear in Colonial Heights General District Court on Monday.

Witness: Victim punched shooter 

A woman who witnessed the shooting said she was in a state of shock when she saw what happened inside the PacSun store.

She said the the shooting victim punched the suspect twice before she heard "one loud" shot.

“The guy who got shot, if I am not mistaken, he punched the guy who shot at him," she said. "And then he pulled his gun and loaded it and shot at the guy.”

The witness said the victim lost consciousness and that the shooter, who she described as a black male wearing gold chains, ran away.

“He had on a lot of gold chains and a lot of gold jewelry on him," she said.

In the moments after the shooting, she rushed to alert some of her family members who work at the mall.

“I called my brother and said, ‘Just get out of there,’” she said. “And they thought I was playing….It was scary.”

She was still reeling when she recounted her story to Brendan King and Wayne Covil.

"My heart was beating so fast, because it could have been one of us," she said.

Shooting at Southpark Mall

Shooting at Southpark Mall

Reports of an active shooter 

Reports of the shooting sparked numerous social media posts and calls to the WTVR CBS 6 newsroom fearing an active shooter situation at the mall.

"Someone shooting in Southpark Mall," Author Tiffany tweeted at 1:35 p.m.

Tiffany said she was at the mall to promote her books when everyone was rushed out of the mall.

She said she had "no clue" what prompted the incident, and that she exited the mall near Macy's.

Another man who had come to the mall to go shopping said he was not allowed inside. He said "they just started letting everybody out at Macy’s" around 1:50 p.m.

Swift response by mall, law enforcement 

When Covil arrived at the mall, he described a tense situation where there was uncertainty as to what had happened at the mall. He saw some people walking to their cars, but he said others were running.

“It was a scary time here in Colonial Heights,” Covil noted.

Covil said multiple people exiting the mall told him they thought the store employees and police handled the situation well.

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