An argument among a group of teenagers in Seattle turned violent Thursday when an 18-year-old was shot in a Central Area strip-mall parking lot.

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An argument among a group of teenagers in Seattle turned violent Thursday when an 18-year-old was shot in a Central Area strip-mall parking lot.

A dozen or so teens were seen gathered about 3 p.m. in the lot, at South Jackson Street and South 23rd Avenue, witnesses said. The victim had been arguing with another man when a shot rang out shortly before 4 p.m. He was shot either in the neck or the face, said Jeff Kappel, spokesman for Seattle police.

“A lot of people were arguing; there were a lot of curse words. One girl was scurrying and carrying a shirt with blood,” said Daniel Anderson, who was inside a nearby barbershop at the time of the shooting.

The victim managed to run to a nearby Bank of America, where he asked employees for help. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he is in critical condition. The male suspect, a juvenile, ran south across busy Jackson Street after the shooting. He will be booked into the King County Youth Service Center for investigation of assault.

Police, who were covering a nearby protest, responded to the 911 call from the bank and pursued the suspect, arresting him in the parking lot of a community center a few blocks away.

“He was apprehended within one minute of the shooting,” Kappel said.

Police also were investigating a parking lot across the street, where witnesses said the suspect threw a gun as he fled.

Shop owners and employees who work in the strip-mall complex said they had seen the group of teens fighting for a while before the shooting.

Students from nearby Garfield High School regularly hang out in the parking lot after school, one shop owner said.

The parking lot does not have security, lighting or surveillance, said Lorene Tracy, an employee at Subway who heard the gunshot and spoke to the victim’s friends after the shooting.

The group of teens who witnessed the shooting quickly dispersed after the shot was fired, Tracy said.

“Young kids hang out here,” Tracy said. “One of his friends returned after the shooting and said the victim was going to live. Then he bought a sandwich. He seemed OK with everything.”

Karen Johnson: 206-464-2393 or karenjohnson@seattletimes.com. Staff writer Sonia Krishnan contributed to this story.