Independence Center shut down after shooting

Two people shot inside of mall Saturday

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Two teenagers were shot Saturday afternoon inside Independence Center, a busy shopping mall just east of Kansas City.

Part of the mall was evacuated following the shooting, which happened about 4:30 p.m..

According to police, a fight between two groups of people led to the shooting.

"There was a verbal altercation between a couple different groups coming in through the lower level of the Sears store," said Capt. John Cato. "At some point in that altercation shots were actually fired."

Police released two photos of persons of interest Saturday night.

There were varying reports on where exactly the shooting occurred. Police say the shooting happened inside the mall corridor, not in any specific store.

Thirteen-year-old Lauren Potts was near Sears when she and her friends heard the shots.

"We sprinted to the other side of the mall where Macy's was and these cops and these ladies told us that we were lucky we didn't get shot and we started praying," said Potts.

An NBC Action News employee, Chris Dolt, was inside of the Macy's as the shooting occurred. He said that he heard three to four shots.

Dolt said that he heard screaming, and saw people running.

Dustin Hamm, a former officer, said he ran through the mall, toward the shooter, telling everyone to hit the ground.

"I grabbed the security officer and said you're coming with me," Hamm said. "That's when he got on the radio."

The security officer and Hamm lost the man in the parking lot.

Part of the mall was placed on lock down along with the rest of the mall and no one was able to leave for some time. Security evacuated several areas of the building.

Macy's employees reportedly corralled store patrons and to an area in the rear of the store.

Police began to let people leave some areas of the mall around 5:17 p.m.

The mall reopened as normal Sunday.

The victims' injuries were not considered serious.

Anyone with information on the shootings is urged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

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