One boy injured in shooting at Salem Center mall Friday, police say

Police vehicles along Chemeketa Street Northeast in downtown Salem Friday, March 18 as officers respond to a shots fired call. (Ardeshir Tabrizian/Salem Reporter)

Amirah Montaner was sitting at a table inside the Salem Center mall and talking on the phone shortly after 2 p.m. Friday when she heard yelling behind her. Moments later, she was running for the nearest exit.

It was an argument between two groups of teenagers, Montaner, 19, said – four inside the mall and around ten outside. 

“If you really have it, show it,” she recalled hearing one shout. 

Then, she heard gunshots.

The shooting left one boy injured and shut down much of downtown Salem Friday afternoon as police roped off multiple streets, evacuated the mall and told residents, business owners and shoppers to shelter in place.

Salem police said the shooting took place around 2:15 p.m. The injured boy was transported to Salem Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No suspect is in custody, according to the statement.

Police lifted the shelter-in-place order around 4 p.m., but said residents should expect a police presence near the mall as officers investigate.

Salem police released no information about what led to the shooting, and did not describe a suspect.

Montaner said she looked up and saw smoke coming from the gun. Tthe teen holding it fired shots as he ran away.

“He was trying to just hurry up and shoot and then get out as soon as possible, I guess,” she said.

Salem police found the victim at a business near the intersection of Northeast High Street and Northeast Chemeketa Street, according to a police department news release.

Montaner said it took a moment to register that she was hearing gunfire. She didn’t start running in the opposite direction until she heard the third shot.

“I think the most scary thing was that he quite literally made eye contact with me as he was running back,” she said. “It took me way too long to understand what was actually happening. And once I did, I ran,” she said.

Police searched the mall and escorted employees and customers out of the building, finding no additional victims.

The department said it would not release additional information about the shooting Friday afternoon.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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