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El Paso mall shooting was ‘random incident’ between 2 groups, police say

A temporary memorial in Ponder Park in El Paso, Texas, honored victims of the Walmart shooting which left 23 people dead in a racist attack targeting Latinos on Aug. 2, 2020, in El Paso, Texas. The Cielo Vista mall next to the Walmart was the scene of another shooting Wednesday night. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/TNS)

The shooting at an El Paso mall that left one person dead and three more wounded Wednesday was the climax of an argument between two groups, police said Thursday.

The confrontation began in the food court of Cielo Vista mall, police said, though they did not publicly speculate on why it began.

One person in what investigators labeled “Group B” pulled a gun and started shooting, according to El Paso police chief Peter Pacillas. At least one member of “Group A” returned fire.

One person in “Group A” was killed and another was wounded, police said. Two members of “Group B” were wounded.

“This is a random incident that occurred between two groups,” Pacillas said Thursday at a press conference.

All three people who were wounded remained in stable condition Thursday at El Paso hospitals, Pacillas said.

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting. Pacillas said the incident “doesn’t appear to be” gang-related, though the investigation is ongoing. The chief said at least three people across the two groups were armed.

All people involved were in their late teens and early 20s, according to Pacillas. The parties were not identified further.

Police descended on the mall around 5 p.m. Wednesday after reports of gunfire. An off-duty police officer working security at the mall arrested one suspect just three minutes after the reports came in.

Cielo Vista mall sits adjacent to the Walmart where 23 people were killed in an August 2019 mass shooting. The gunman in that case, Patrick Crusius, pleaded guilty last week to 90 federal crimes and will spend the rest of his life in prison.


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