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Police: Vendor, would-be robbers exchanged shots, setting off Black Friday stampede at Southpoint mall

A man selling jewelry exchanged gunfire with two men trying to rob him a week ago at the Streets at Southpoint mall in Durham, police said.

Posted Updated

Matthew Burns
, WRAL.com senior producer/politics editor
DURHAM, N.C. — A man selling jewelry exchanged gunfire with two men trying to rob him a week ago at the Streets at Southpoint mall in Durham, police said.
Three people were wounded in the shooting, and police said Friday that one of them is one of the suspected robbers. Three other people were hurt during the ensuing chaos, as Black Friday shoppers fled the crowded mall or sought cover inside.

Police initially said the shooting occurred on the second floor of the mall and involved two groups of people who knew each other. Witnesses later said the shooting began as a fight in Macy's between two groups of people.

But after days of investigation that included reviewing footage from several security cameras and interviewing dozens of people, police determined that robbery wasn't a random incident, nor was it gang-related.

Police said a man selling jewelry outside a store on the mall's second floor was approached by at least two men who tried to rob him. At least one of the robbers had a gun, police said. Both police and Southpoint representatives said the jewelry vendor wasn't affiliated with the mall in any way.

The jewelry vendor and the armed gunman then fired their weapons at each other, police said. The suspected robber, a 26-year-old man whose name hasn't been released, was wounded and remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

The jewelry vendor wasn't wounded, and the second man with the suspected robber fled the area and still hasn't been identified, police said. Police on Friday released images from security cameras of the man they are searching for.

Off-duty Durham police officers working at the mall heard the shots and called for assistance. The mall was then locked down, and police found the wounded suspect, as well as a 10-year-old girl and a 58-year-old man who had been wounded.

The girl and the man, who were both bystanders, were treated at local hospitals and released the same day, police said.

Police found two guns at the scene.

"The shootings in this city have got to stop," Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews said shortly after the shooting. "We have worked with all of our federal partners to identify these individuals that are bent on coming to our community and wreaking havoc. We will be sending them to federal prison."

Charges are pending in the case, which remains under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call Durham police at 919-560-4440, extension 29119, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

Police said they are working with Streets of Southpoint management to increase security for staff and visitors.

On Oct. 24, police were called to the mall for reports of shots fired after a fight broke out in the food court. Multiple witnesses said a gun was displayed but not fired during the fight. Instead, people likely heard a broomstick hitting a table during the fight, according to police.


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