The Westfield Southcenter Mall, located in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila, is supposed to be a gun-free zone, but May 1 found it to be the scene of a shooting in which two men, ages 27 and 32, were reportedly wounded and the shooter remained at large.
The mall was also the scene of a January 2015 shooting incident in which one man was wounded in the hand.
In November 2008, 17-year-old Diaquan Jones was fatally wounded by a bullet to the abdomen. The man who shot him, Barry Lee Saunders Jr., 21, was convicted and sent to prison.
Shopping malls around the country have been the scene of several shooting incidents over the years, and they all appear to have one thing in common: They are “gun-free zones.” Whether the problem is gang-related or the act of some disturbed individual, the aftermath also always seems the same. Instead of just holding the shooter responsible, and perhaps allowing legally-armed private citizens inside these multi-store facilities, the incidents become more fuel in the gun control effort.
The May Day incident at Southcenter put the facility on lockdown but it is now back open for business. The Associated Press reported that Tukwila police believed the shooting was “an isolated incident between potentially known individuals.”
In 2018, a man entered a Walmart in Tumwater, a suburb of Olympia, Washington, fired some shots, came back outside, attempted to carjack a vehicle after seriously wounding the driver, but was shot dead by a legally-armed citizen.
That same year, an armed citizen killed a gunman who opened fire at a popular Oklahoma City restaurant after he wounded two people including a 12-year-old girl.
In 2012, an armed citizen confronted a gunman who opened fire at the Clackamas Town Center mall outside of Portland, Oregon. The armed citizen didn’t fire because of people behind the shooter, but he believes the killer saw him, ran down a hallway and onto a stairway, where he killed himself with the stolen rifle.
In 2016, a gun range operator and defensive firearms instructor—who also happened to be an off-duty police officer out of his jurisdiction—fatally shot a man who had stabbed several people in a rampage at a mall in St. Cloud, Minn. While the would-be killer didn’t have a gun, he had at least two knives and had already committed mass mayhem.
In 2007, an armed man entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs after having already shot two young women outside. He encountered a volunteer security officer, Jeanne Assam, who shot him several times before he was able to enter the sanctuary.
In December 2019, a shotgun-wielding man opened fire inside the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas killing two people but an armed private citizen fatally shot him in the head. The attack was actually live-streamed as it happened.
So-called “gun-free zones” such as shopping malls, theaters or other business establishments, have been the scenes of several shooting incidents over the years. People prepared to do harm ignore “gun free zone” signs.