The mayor of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin is taking some heat for what critics suggest might qualify as one of the dumbest remarks in recent memory from a public official in the wake of a shooting at the city’s Mayfair Mall for which he touted the “gun free” designation of the establishment, lamenting that if the shooter had only the restriction nobody would have been hurt.
Police have now arrested the 15-year-old suspect along with two other persons, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. They have recovered the gun allegedly used in the confrontation, in which eight people were injured.
An article at AmmoLand News raked Mayor Dennis McBride, a Democrat, for his remark.
“Guns have no place in shopping malls or other places in which crowds of people gather,” Mayor McBride said in a prepared statement. “Mayfair has a strict no-gun policy. If the shooter had complied with that policy, no one would have been hurt yesterday.”
Gun owners are criticizing the mayor for his naiveté, since criminals routinely ignore such restrictions.
It is also illegal in Minnesota for any juvenile to carry a concealed handgun.
This has been the pattern of mass shootings across the landscape. They frequently happen in “gun free” zones where victims are unable to fight back. But the designation did not deter the suspect.
The newspaper said the shooting “was the result of an altercation between two groups of people.”
In 2007, a killer identified as Sulejman Talovic opened fire at the Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City, killing five people and wounding four others before being shot dead by responding police. But an off-duty officer from a different jurisdiction was at the mall to dine with his wife. Instead, he drew his gun and engaged the killer, along with another local officer, putting Talovic on the defensive.
In 2012, a shooting erupted at the Clackamas Town Center just outside the city of Portland, Oregon. The shooter, identified as Jacob Tyler Roberts, was armed with a stolen semi-auto rifle, which he used to fatally shoot two people. An armed private citizen told a reporter he drew his gun, took a sight on Roberts but didn’t fire because of people in the background. That citizen, identified as Nick Meli, claimed Roberts spotted him and retreated into a corridor, taking his own life a few minutes later. The importance of Meli’s involvement was later challenged by at least one newspaper account in the Spokane Spokesman Review.
The Crime Prevention Research Center’s website features a couple of pages with links to stories about armed citizens intervening in mass shootings, in places where “crowds of people gather.”
It is impossible to know whether an armed citizen might have intervened at the Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, but it is known what happened because there was no such option.