Terrifying moment shoppers run in panic after gunman ‘with an AR-15’ opened fire
A gunman shot at least three people in an Arizona shopping district on Wednesday evening, after reportedly filming his assault on Snapchat.
The suspect – who has not been named by police – was identified as 20-year-old Armando Hernandez from Peoria by his mother, 12News reports.
Disturbing footage, thought to have been taken by Hernandez, shows a gunman carrying out his rampage. He says: ‘Hello, my name is Armando Junior Hernandez and I’m gonna be the shooter of Westgate 2020.’
Flashing his beer can, he then shows guns in the backseat of his car. Heds: ‘Let’s get this done.’
Officer Tiffany Ngalula did not confirm the identity of the shooter Wednesday evening but did say police are aware of the video circulating on social media.
The suspect is said to have surrendered and is now in custody.
One of those injured is in critical condition. The two others were expected to survive following the shooting near a popular shopping and entertainment district west of Phoenix. None of the victims have been named.
A former classmate of Hernandez described him as ‘troubled’ and ‘anti-government’.
Police said they are aware of video circulating on social media which looked to be posted by the shooter. The suspect – who has not been named by police – was identified as 20-year-old Armando Hernandez by his mother, 12News reports
Disturbing footage, thought to have been taken by Hernandez, is circulating online
Sen. Martín Quezada tweeted following the incident on Wednesday
Pictured: The Westgate shooter can be seen walking calmly through the parking lot outside the shopping centre with a rifle in his left hand
The 20-year-old previously studied at Raymond Kellis High School, which is over the road from the popular entertainment hub.
His mother was in tears when she saw his social media posts ranting about society and identified her son as the shooter, 12 News reported.
In the series of clips uploaded to Snapchat, Hernandez, wearing a face mask, opens up the rear door of his car to show an AR-15 resting on the back seat.
‘We’ll be shooting up Westgate,’ he says. ‘Let’s get this done guys.’
The clip cuts to an automatic weapon ringing out shots as he enters the building. He then walks along the corridor to the escalators but doesn’t come into contact with anyone.
A cut to another upload shows the barrel of the gun pointed towards a woman trying to hide between two cars in the parking lot of the shopping centre. He doesn’t shoot her during the clip but her condition is unknown. He repeatedly says ‘it’s society’s fault’.
Senator Martín Quezada had earlier tweeted: ‘I just witnessed an armed terrorist with an AR-15 shoot up Westgate. There are multiple victims.’
Glendale police are yet to announce the shooter’s motive.
Quezadaded in a subsequent tweet: ‘I saw 2 victims with my own eyes. Not sure how many others I saw the shooter. Being told not to say anything else about details ’til I speak to police. I’m ok. Lots of shaken up people.’
Pictured: A yearbook photo of suspected shooter Armando Hernandez, 20. A former classmate of Hernandez said he was ‘troubled’ and ‘anti-government’
Multiple people have been shot by a ‘terrorist armed with an AR-15’ in this Arizona shopping district, a state senator said Wednesday. The district is pictured Wednesday evening
Senator Quezada told 12 News: ‘I saw him through my window after the shots were fired. He was walking calmly and reloading his weapon.’
Additional footage, recovered by 12News, shows the shooter prowling in the parking lot with a rifle. Early in the video, it sounds like he fires at someone.
After calmly walking through the area he hides between some cars. A patrol vehicle then pulls up to him and the video cuts.
The Westgate shopping center, part of a complex that includes arenas for Cardinals football and Coyotes hockey, was humming with activity after many of its stores and restaurants were closed for more than a month due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Police locked down the area and have been methodically inspecting individual stores with weapons drawn and accompanied by a K9 unit, to search for anyditional victims or suspects, 12 News reported.
Footage from the scene shows terrified shoppers fleeing in panic as gunshots ring out. Those ordered to shelter in place also faced a power outage around the same time of the shooting.
The power outage, which affected local apartment blocks and street lamps, caused some residents to come out on to the street while the shooter was active, 12 News reported.
Law enforcement had earlier tweeted: ‘Please stay out of the #Westgate area.
‘Preliminary info from our dispatch is there were at least two persons struck by gunfire and one person is in custody.
‘PIO is enroute to the scene. Media staging for now will be West of the Arena.’
One person was in critical condition and two others were injured in a shooting Wednesday near a popular shopping and entertainment district west of Phoenix, police said
Video from the scene shows a large police presence. Arizona governor Doug Ducey said: ‘We are monitoring this closely’
Police later confirmed a suspect was in custody,ding: ‘Update: there are no more reports of any active shooting.
‘One suspect is in custody. We are shutting down the Westgate area to ensure everyone is safe. Media staging will be at Cabelas parking lot.
Senator Quezada said: ‘I saw 2 victims with my own eyes. Not sure how many others I saw the shooter. Being told not to say anything else about details ’til I speak to police. I’m ok. Lots of shaken up people.’
One Twitter user wrote: ‘There is a possible shooting going on at Westgate in Glendale. I’m here at work with a coworker hiding in the back of our studio. Hoping to get through all of this.’
Video from the scene shows a large police presence.
Glendale police confirmed the incident, saying three people were injured
Arizona governor Doug Ducey said: ‘We are monitoring this closely.’
He laterded: ‘Our hearts and prayers are with the individuals and families impacted tonight, as well as the first responders and police officers who are on the scene. The state is here to continue to offer its full support to the victims and to the community.’
Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton said: ‘Praying hard for the two victims at Westgate and for the hundreds who just lived through the nightmare of a mass shooting.
‘This is a terrible situation that could have been much worse—I’m grateful for the quick response from @GlendaleAZPD that undoubtedly saved lives.’
Jerry Weiers, the Mayor of Glendale, said: ‘I want everyone to know that this is not normal.
‘We are dealing with somebody who obviously had issues.’