- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2005

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A man opened fire inside a busy shopping mall yesterday, wounding at least six persons and taking three others hostage in a music store before he surrendered to a SWAT team, authorities said.

Witnesses described hearing a noise and then seeing a man walking backward through the mall, firing as shoppers and store clerks scrambled for cover. One of the shooting victims was critically injured.

Tacoma Police spokesman Mark Fulghum said the suspect was a young man. He had no other details about the suspect or motive for the shooting.

The gunman came out of the Sam Goody music store without a gun and surrendered to the SWAT team, Mr. Fulghum said. He said police were interviewing the victims and the three hostages — two men and a woman — to determine what happened during the nearly four hours he was inside.

While the suspect was in the music store, employee Joe Hudson was able to answer a phone and say, “We’re being held hostage,” before hanging up.

Susan Serveau said she also called her daughter, Kathy Riggans, 24, a manager at Sam Goody, as soon as she heard about the shooting.

“She was upset and scared. She was crying,” Mrs. Serveau said, standing in a parking lot near the mall. “All she would say was that she was OK.”

Authorities received a call about 12:15 p.m. that shots had been fired inside the Tacoma Mall. The caller said there was a gunman “in the mall, walking along, firing,” Mr. Fulghum said.

State Patrol and police units from nearby agencies clustered around an entrance at the south end.

Stacy Wilson, 29, of Bonney Lake, said she was walking inside the mall from J.C. Penney when she heard a popping noise and turned around.

“I saw the gunman randomly shooting. I ran with a group of women to Victoria’s Secret,” Miss Wilson said. She said the women crouched behind a wall in the store, and when the shooting stopped, an employee ran out and closed a security gate at the front.

Miss Wilson said she heard 15 to 20 shots.

“He was walking backward and shooting. I couldn’t see his face,” she said. “Everyone was running and screaming.”

Betz Dejarnatt, who works at the J.C. Penney store, said she heard three shots. She said some of the workers were herded into dressing rooms and offices, then police took them outside to a parking lot.

Six persons were taken to hospitals, most with minor injuries, Deputy Chief Lendosky said. He couldn’t confirm whether any of them had been shot. One person was in critical condition at Tacoma General Hospital, spokesman Todd Kelley said.

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