Business continues at Westfield Southlake mall after gun discharge, evacuation

2012-11-11T20:36:00Z 2012-11-12T13:01:10Z Business continues at Westfield Southlake mall after gun discharge, evacuationLindsay Machak lindsay.machak@nwi.com (219) 933-3246 nwitimes.com

HOBART | Timothy Moore's gift kiosk had been open for only one day before a teenager allegedly fired a shot into the roof of Westfield Southlake mall.

Moore, 28, said he saw a group of kids fighting Saturday and then was shocked when one of the teens aimed the gun toward the ceiling and pulled the trigger. Moore and everyone else in the mall were evacuated Saturday night.

But Moore said he came back for a third day of business Sunday because he was satisfied with the response by police and security during the incident.

“We heard the shot and then the security guards went running toward it,” he said. “The police were right behind them. It was taken care of really quickly.”

Police said off-duty Hobart officers were working mall security when the shot was fired Saturday. Three boys, ages 14, 15 and 16, were taken into police custody at the scene, officials said. Police were searching for a fourth boy, who is believed to be a brother of one of the other suspects.

Calls to police for an update Sunday night were not returned.

The boy with the handgun fired a single shot into the ceiling of the bustling mall before the gun jammed, police said.

Dan Palcek had dinner at one of the the mall's restaurants Sunday without hesitation.

He said he wasn't scared because of the incident but instead, he was concerned.

“Fourteen- and 16-year-olds shouldn't have guns,” he said.

Palcek, 38, of Portage, said he has three children, ages 16 through 20, and it's important for him to be involved in their lives.

“It makes me think the parents weren't watching that kid yesterday,” he said.

Jackie Burgess was at the mall with her 9-year-old daughter Saturday before the shooting and was shocked to find out what had happened.

“She wanted to go downstairs to one of her stores, but I was in a hurry to leave and said we've gotta go,” she said. “I'm glad I made that decision.”

Burgess, 33, of Griffith, said the incident will make her reconsider letting her daughter wander around the mall with friends.

She said somebody should be watching groups of older kids inside the mall so incidents don't get out of control.

“When there's big groups of kids coming into the mall, somebody needs to watch them,” she said. “It's dangerous to have them out there like that.”

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