CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Shoppers say they were scared, confused and even angry after a shooting at the P.F. Chang's at La Palmera Mall sent one person to the hospital. Now police are investigating another shooting and a bank robbery they say could all be connected.
Original call for a shooting on Elizabeth & Brownlee (3:06 p.m.)
At about 3:00 p.m. on Monday officers were called out to a shooting at the intersection of Elizabeth St. and Brownlee Blvd.
Police said they found a 39-year-old man who had been shot and then ran to a nearby store for help. After they found him, he was transported to a local hospital in critical but stable condition.
Shooting call at La Palmera Mall (3:34 p.m.)
Almost 30 minutes later, officers were called to the 5400 block of South Padre Island Drive to a possible shooting at a business – later confirmed to be an isolated incident between two P.F. Chang's workers inside the mall.
According to investigators, an employee arrived at the restaurant got involved in a disturbance with another employee and the suspect shot the worker and fled the scene. That victim was transported to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
Bank robbery on S.P.I.D (3:41 p.m.)
While police were investigating the P.F. Chang's shooting, 10 minutes later around 3:41 p.m. officers were dispatched to the 5100 block of South Padre Island Drive for a bank robbery.
Updates to the call said that a male entered that bank displayed a weapon and demanded money from the teller. Police said the suspect escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.
But, that’s not where it ended. A CCPD officer saw a car that matched the description of the suspect's from the mall shooting. That car was found in the area of North Staples and Leopard. The officers conducted a traffic stop and the suspect was taken into custody at about 4:21 p.m.
All three of these events occurred within an hour and a half. The department says the investigation is ongoing.
Reactions online & at La Palmera Mall
Word of the shooting quickly spread through social media, causing many shoppers to worry about where exactly in the mall the incident occurred.
"It said shooting at La Palmera Mall and I was like, 'we're at the freaking mall," said shooting witness Ulliza Contreras. "So, I ran to her and said look there's a shooting. I don't know if its inside, I don't know if it's outside.'"
Victoria Contreras, who was also inside the mall during the shooting, said she did not know what to do and store managers didn't have any answers either
"I'm like do we leave do we stay? What's going on? Are we locked in, are we locked out? I'm like, what do we do?" Contreras said.
Another customer inside the mall, Rihanna Contreras was disappointed by the lack of action the mall took. "What I'm more disappointed in is how can you not tell the people who are in the mall, who we spend good money in there, for y'all not to at least to warn us so we can get to safety ourselves."
3NEWS reached out to the management at La Palmera Mall and relayed the shopper's concerns. They responded with the following statement:
The Corpus Christi Police Department responded almost immediately today and quickly discerned it was an isolated incident between two individuals who knew one another.
Because CCPD ruled it an isolated incident — with the suspect having left the property — it wasn’t necessary to take any actions that would cause unnecessary distress for our shoppers and tenants such as announcements on the public address system or pulling the fire alarm to clear the mall.
We have used those methods in past emergencies, including a gas line leak in 2015, but it was not necessary in this particular incident.
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