Police vehicles along Chemeketa Street Northeast in downtown Salem Friday, March 18 as officers respond to a shots fired call. (Ardeshir Tabrizian/Salem Reporter)
Police have made no arrests a week after a shooting inside Salem Center mall which shut down much of downtown Salem for hours as police evacuated dozens of people from the mall.
Lt. Jake Burke, of Salem police’s Criminal Investigations Unit, said Friday that the agency also had no information about the current status of the boy who was injured in the March 18 shooting. Police described his injuries as non-life threatening.
Salem police haven’t released any description of a suspect in the incident.
“Detectives are actively following up on tips regarding the identity of the involved suspect; however, releasing case specifics could jeopardize the investigation,” Burke said in an email Friday.
He declined to answer a question about what led to the shooting, saying he couldn’t answer questions related to “specific case details.”
Following the shooting, police taped off multiple streets and instructed anyone in the area to shelter in place. Many businesses in the downtown corridor closed early.
Salem police said the shooting occurred around 2:15 p.m. on the first floor inside the mall, near the south entrance and exit doors on the Chemeketa and High streets side.
Two groups of teens traded verbal taunts and headed toward the exit to settle the dispute outside, the agency said in a March 20 summary of incidents officers responded to that week.
Amirah Montaner, 19, told Salem Reporter she was sitting nearby and saw a group of four teens inside the mall and a group of around 10 outside. She recalled hearing one say,. “If you really have it show it.”
Police said the groups exchanged words before one teen pulled out a handgun and started firing at one teen from the other group.
A teen boy was injured as one bullet “grazed his head,” police said in the summary, and the teen with the gun ran away with the rest of the group.
“The injured teen and his friends remained but were very uncooperative and interfered with emergency personnel providing aid at the scene,” according to the summary.
The injured boy was transported to Salem Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Salem police said in a news release the day of the shooting.
Officers from multiple agencies helped search the mall for any other injured people and help escort out people inside, according to the summary. Police interviewed around 100 witnesses before again evacuating the mall.
Other officers responded to the hospital where the injured teen was treated. A group of teens approached one officer who was trying to limit the number of cars at the emergency entrance.
As the officer explained the hospital was on lockdown because of the shooting, “they ignored his commands to stop,” and one teen’s parents exited a vehicle and were confrontational, the summary said.
Burke said Friday morning that nobody had been arrested or charged in connection with the shooting.
“We are grateful for all the assistance from the public. From their cooperation as we worked to secure the scene and get everyone out of the mall safely, to the patience of all the witnesses who were interviewed and all the tips provided,” he said. “Detectives are diligently working though all those case details. We understand the public’s concern regarding this incident, yet we also hope our community understands the detectives are carefully working to sort through all the aspects of the case.”
Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.
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