Gunman Says He’s Victim in Mall Shooting Trial

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- It happened one year ago -- a gunman opened fire in the Independence Center mall. On Tuesday, two people hurt in the shooting testified they tried to get away from the gunman. But, according to them, he wouldn't leave them alone before pulling the trigger.

Eric Bratton, 25, could face life in prison if convicted of two assault charges in connection with the shooting incident at the mall.

Both prosecutors and the defense agree a comment about a 17-year-old's backside sparked a confrontation that ended with the shooting.

"Everybody took off running the other direction. people were running in stores. They were closing the gates down in the stores. People were screaming," a witness said.

Surveillance video captured the shooting at the busy mall sending shoppers scrambling for safety. In another video, recorded on a shopper's cell phone, you can hear the panic from those nearby after the shots rang out.

Rochelle Moore, 18, told a jury she didn't know what to think when she heard a stranger walking behind her making a disparaging comment about her as she entered the mall.

But her boyfriend, Dylan Yates, exchanged words with two men, and when one of them punched Moore from behind, knocking her to the ground, Yates said the fight was on.

"I kinda stepped over her and went after the man that punched my girlfriend," Yates said in court Tuesday.

After a friend broke up the fist fight between Yates and Bratton, Yates and his girlfriend said they tried to walk away. But, according to them, Bratton followed to confront them again. And that's when, the couple said, he pulled out a gun.

"I seen the first bullet hit Rochelle in the foot. It was kinda happening in slow motion. I seen it hit Rochelle in the foot, I guess the second one hit me in the thigh. I really didn't know I was shot until I got in Forever 21. I ducked to grab Rochelle and I felt the third one. The wind, it was by my face," Yates testified.

Moore told the jury it was a terrifying moment.

"It's just like scary. I don't know. He pulled out his gun and then he held it sideways. Then he shot three times. He fired three times," Moore said.

Both victims claim Bratton threatened to shoot Yates once in the leg and once in the head before pulling out his gun in an attempt to do just that.

Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday afternoon. Bratton took the witness stand telling the jury the shooting was self-defense. He claimed after being beaten by Yates, Yates was advancing on him again and needed his gun to protect himself.

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