WELLINGTON, Fla. – A shooting was reported Monday outside the Mall at Wellington Green in Palm Beach County as the complex was crowded with shoppers buying last-minute Christmas gifts, authorities said.
Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, said a gunman shot at deputies and wounded a police dog, which later died at a veterinarian emergency center.
Deputies said at about 5 p.m., they waited until three individuals left the mall to make arrests, with two being taken into custody.
The third individual, a known gang member, took off running and shot the police dog named “Cigo” before deputies returned fire and wounded him, deputies said.
The man is wanted for first-degree murder and is in “bad shape” at a local hospital, according to deputies.
No civilians were hurt.
“As it stands right now, we’ve got two very dangerous people off the street,” Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said. “Unfortunately, it took the life of one of our dogs, but he did his job. He saved the lives of the deputies.”
Michelle Avery said she works at the Apricot Lane boutique and heard gunshots inside the mall about 5:45 p.m.
“I was taking our garbage out and I heard a boom,” Avery said. “I just started screaming into my store — because I have young girl that works in there — for her to get to the back of the store.”
She said she ran to the back and locked herself and her employees inside, but shoppers quickly started banging on the glass to get in.
“Everyone was running around like crazy. Some people just hit the ground,” Avery said.
She said she let several shoppers into the store, where they hid in the fitting rooms.
“It was chaos,” Avery said. “It was like the things you see on TV, but you think you’ll never be subject to this kind of situation.”
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