Two men were shot at Southcenter mall just before noon Saturday, prompting officials to evacuate the shopping center and order people still in stores to shelter-in-place.
Tukwila police tweeted the shooting appeared to be an “isolated incident between potentially known individuals.” Officials don’t believe an “active shooter” was involved, police said.
The men, ages 32 and 27, were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg. The 32-year-old was in satisfactory condition and was to be discharged Saturday, she said. The 27-year-old man was in serious condition.
It was not clear whether the shooting, on the mall’s east side, happened inside or outside, according to Tukwila police spokesperson Victor Masters.
The Tukwila Police Department said at 5:30 p.m. that officers had finished clearing the mall and evacuating everyone, and that the mall would be closed for the remainder of the day.
According to reports on social media, shoppers fled after hearing gunshots.
Lee Yang, who works at a picture frame kiosk on the south side of the mall, said he didn’t hear the shots, but saw people start running from the direction of Macy’s.
“Then other people saw them running and started running, too,” he said. “Two minutes later the whole mall was empty.”
No arrests had been made as of 5 p.m. The Washington State Patrol closed all exits from Interstate 5 and Interstate 405 while authorities investigated; the exits reopened around 5:30 p.m., according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Several law-enforcement agencies responded to the scene, including the King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the SeaTac and Burien police departments.
“There’s a shooter in there,” one Tukwila officer said around 2 p.m., ushering workers out of chicken restaurant Jollibee. “Go. You gotta go.”
Tasha Hunter, a floor supervisor at cosmetics store 100% Pure, said she heard several shots, but that she couldn’t be sure because of echoes in the building. Hunter was waiting in the parking lot to reenter the mall to collect belongings she’d left in the store: her phone and car keys.
“I just hope they catch him,” she said, referring to the shooter, whose gender has not been released by police. She said she was apprehensive about going back into the mall because “who knows all the different places someone can hide.”
Kristin Rochon, a manager at clothing store Windsor, said she heard shots followed by screaming, crying and glass shattering.
With the help of a colleague, Rochon ushered the roughly 30 people in the store into the backroom, turned off the lights and closed the door. They waited there for more than an hour before hearing police outside and leaving the mall.