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Gunman kills 5 in Utah shopping mall
Tuesday. 2.13.07 2:29 am

Gunman kills 5 in Utah shopping mall




SALT LAKE CITY - A man with a shotgun fired randomly in a historic shopping mall Monday night, killing five people and injuring several others before he was killed, police said.



Hours later, police still were searching stores for shocked shoppers and employees who were hunkered down awaiting a safe escort from the Trolley Square mall.

"We have six fatalities and multiple victims at hospitals," police Detective Robin Snyder said. "They were found throughout the mall. I don't know male or female or ages."

At least four people were hospitalized, three in critical condition and one in serious condition, hospital spokesmen said. Two of the critically injured were a 16-year-old man and a 50-year-old man, a spokesman said.

Authorities offered few details about the shootings but said the gunman entered the mall about 6:45 p.m. MST.

The two-story mall, southeast of downtown, is a refurbished trolley barn built in 1908, with a series of winding hallways, brick floors, wrought-iron balconies and about 80 stores, including high-end retailers such as Williams-Sonoma and restaurants such as the Hard Rock Cafe.

Matt Lund, whose wife manages a clothing store, said he saw a woman's body face-down at the entrance to Pottery Barn Kids. He locked himself and four others inside a storage room for about 40 minutes, isolated but still able to hear the violence.

"We heard them say, 'Police! Drop your weapon!' Then we heard shotgun fire. Then there was a barrage of gunfire," Lund, 44, said. "It was hard to believe."

Marie Smith, 23, had the day off from Bath & Body Works but stopped there during an errand and saw the gunman shoot a woman in front of the store.

"He was ahead of her, standing still. I don't think she saw that he had a gun," said Smith, who dashed to a bathroom and locked the door.

Outside the mall, streets were blocked as police swarmed the two-block scene. Dozens of people lingered on the sidewalk, many wrapped in blankets, as they talked about what they had seen inside.

Antique store owner Barrett Dodds, 29, said he saw a man in a trenchcoat exchanging gunfire with a police officer outside a card store. The gunman, he said, was backed into a children's clothing store.

"I saw the cops go in the store. I saw the shooter go down," said Dodds, who watched from the second floor.

Barb McKeown, 60, of Washington, D.C., was in another antique shop when two frantic women ran in and reported gunshots.

"Then we heard shot after shot after shot — loud, loud, loud," said McKeown, saying she heard about 20. She and three other people hid under a staircase until it was safe to leave.

Many employees and shoppers — "a lot of scared people" — were still inside the mall hours after the shootings, waiting to leave, Snyder said.

"This is a huge area to cover," she said.

An off-duty officer from Ogden was in the mall and involved in the shooting, said Ogden police Sgt. Blaine Clifford, who declined to release the officer's name. The officer was not injured, Clifford said.

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