COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Gunfire in broad daylight outside a busy Colorado Springs shopping mall left three people hurt and shattered what had been an otherwise normal shopping day one week before Christmas.
"The mall was peaceful," a shopper at the Citadel Mall Tuesday told 11 News. "Then, once we get over here by Hooters, there is cops everywhere. This is crazy."
The investigation is still ongoing, but police believe the shooting may have stemmed from an argument outside the mall.
"There were some individuals just outside the parking lot. There was a car that was driving through the southern portion of the lot. There appeared to be some yelling that was going back and forth, and then shots ring out from the interior of that vehicle," said CSPD spokesperson Lt. Howard Black.
The shooting happened just before 1:45 p.m. outside the Hooters restaurant. The victims, two adult males and a teenage boy, suffered nonlife-threatening injuries. There was one additional female who was not hit by gunfire but police are considering her a victim in the investigation.
Black said responding officers quickly determined that the suspects had left the area and it was not an active shooter situation. The only suspect description currently is that the shooter or shooters were in a red car.
The mall was shut down for several hours while police combed over the scene.
Brenda Daneshi and her husband own a store in the mall. Daneshi had just stepped out for a moment and returned minutes later to find holiday shoppers replaced by first responders and police.
"Now our cars are within the police line tape and we're waiting for someone to come pick us up," she told 11 News reporter Alyssa Chin.
Some store owners tell us they were given the option to reopen after detectives finished collecting evidence, although most chose to remain closed for the day and reopen 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
"We want to get the mall, we want to get people back into the Christmas spirits and get this location safe and usable for our community," Black said.
Police don't have anyone in custody yet. The investigation is ongoing.