Law enforcement investigates a shooting at the east entrance of the West Valley Mall in Tracy Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. (Aerial photo taken via Sky10)
Tracy police investigate a shooting that happened at the West Valley Mall Friday evening.
No one was injured when shots were fired right outside the east entrance to the mall, on 3200 Naglee Rd., around 4:42 p.m., according to Tracy Police Lt. David Sant. A manager of a store in the mall said he heard two shots, which hit the door frame and shattered the glass.
"We were sitting in front in the couch, and then we just heard the shots, and then some little girls went screaming," said shopper Pedro Ocegueda, who was just a few feet from the glass door that shattered.
The teenager and his family made their way to Sears, but that was as far as they could go.
"We wanted to go in the car to try to leave to be safe, but they told us it was on lockdown," Ocegueda said.
The shooter is described as a male in his late teens, early 20s, about 5'8" tall with a medium build, had long dark hair and wore dark clothing. He ran from the scene through the parking lot of the mall.
"There was a person that was on foot to the south of the mall entrance and fired multiple rounds towards the mall entrance and then took off into the parking lot," Sgt. Tony Sheneman said.
Officersquickly set up a perimeter around the mall and shut down the parking lot.
"Our SWAT team was training in the area," Sheneman said. "They came and searched all of the vehicles, of which there were a couple hundred."
When officer did not find the suspect, they set up a smaller perimeter to gather evidence and investigate the scene.
The mall was not closed or evacuated after the shooting. Since investigators believed the shooter was outside the mall, police chose to keep shoppers inside rather than having them all empty into the parking lot.
"A lot of people, you see them going from exit to exit, but they just kept turning back around," shopper Donnie Patterson said.
Patterson and his family waited inside the mall until around 6:30 p.m. when police lifted the lockdown.
"We were just sitting down, trying different exits, but they're saying everything's locked down," Patterson explained. "They wouldn't let us out, so it was pretty frustrating, but nothing you could do about it. "
Police said they'll continue to interview witnesses in an effort to identify both the target of the shooting and the shooter.