Teen arrested in mall shooting; only 1 of 3 victims targeted
MONROEVILLE, Pennsylvania (AP) — A teenager who police say opened fire at a Pittsburgh-area mall, shooting his intended target as well as a couple, was arrested early Sunday after police used surveillance footage and an Instagram photo to link the suspect to the shooting.
Gunfire erupted inside the men’s department on the lower level of Macy’s department store at the Monroeville Mall about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, sending panicked shoppers running. The gunman fled but police say they were able to identify him by matching surveillance video with an image of the suspect on Instagram, according to the criminal complaint.
Tarod Thornhill, 17, was arrested at a home in Brackenridge about 3:15 a.m. Sunday. He was being held at the Allegheny County Jail pending arraignment on charges as an adult of aggravated assault, attempted homicide and recklessly endangering other people. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Feb. 18, according to court documents.
Police Chief Douglas Cole said two men and a woman were shot, including the man who was targeted.
“This was not random,” Cole told reporters. “We have evidence that leads to that.” He declined to elaborate.
Thornhill’s intended target, 20-year-old Davon Jones, was in critical condition, Forbes Hospital spokesman Jesse Miller said. The two bystanders, Thomas and Mary Singleton, were listed in critical and fair condition, respectively.
According to the complaint, Thornhill can be seen on surveillance video approaching Jones with a gun at his side and exchanging words with him. As the Singletons and their son walk in between the two, Thornhill begins firing “indiscriminately.”
The mall reopened on Sunday with the exception of one store.
In late December, hundreds of teenagers gathered at the mall and several fights broke out. The fights caused local officials and mall administration to agree on a plan to increase security there. Police plan to have an increased presence at the mall, said Stacey Keating, a spokeswoman for the mall.
The mall announced a new policy Sunday that requires all mall visitors under 18 years old to be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times on Fridays and Saturdays after 6 p.m.
“The conduct of unsupervised youth and young adults at Monroeville Mall has created an uncomfortable atmosphere for mall visitors and an increasing safety challenge,” the announcement said.
Shoppers described chaos as shots rang out, and police went store to store to evacuate the mall.
“All of the sudden we heard people screaming,” Athena Coffey of Churchill told KDKA-TV, “and the next thing you see is a bunch of people, teenagers, scared to death, just exodus en masse in a way you could not believe. I grabbed my children, husband, we started screaming ‘go, go, go!’”
The mall, which is owned and managed by CBL & Associates Properties Inc., of Chattanooga, Tennessee, says on its website that it features more than 125 stores and eateries.