A 15-year-old Hispanic boy was arrested in connection with a shooting Friday at Mayfair shopping mall that left eight people injured, Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said Sunday.
Weber said during a news conference that the incident was “not a random act” but rather an altercation between two groups, which he said resulted in the injury of four “innocent bystanders.”
According to police, the suspect, who was a Milwaukee resident, fled on foot with other people exiting the mall. He was arrested Saturday evening following the execution of search warrants. Weber said he believes the boy was arrested during a traffic stop and a firearm was also recovered at the scene of the arrest.
The process to completely secure the mall, which contains 1.2 million square feet of space, took about six hours and involved seven tactical teams. During that time, investigators interviewed victims and witnesses to identify the shooter.
The suspect’s identity has not been released to prevent the investigation from being compromised and to avoid potential destruction of evidence.
Weber said that the initial information put out regarding the shooter “was erroneous” as to “who we were looking for,” adding that police “thought it was a white male, but didn’t have an age.” As the investigation progressed and investigators began developing leads, Weber said they began to believe it was “somebody younger.”
In addition to the 15-year old boy, the other individuals involved in the altercation have been taken into custody. The motive for the altercation remains under investigation.
Police added that most of the victims are recovering from non-life threatening injuries and have been released from the hospital. Both Weber and Mayor Dennis McBride stressed that there is no immediate danger to the public, and that Mayfair Mall is still a “wonderful place to shop” and “a safe place to be.”
“An incident of this type can happen at any time, in any place,” Weber said. “I encourage people to show their support for Mayfair.”
“I will tell you this, as soon as I leave here, I’m off to Mayfair,” McBride added. “I have no problem whatsoever. And I never have and I never will. It’s a safe place.”