KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County prosecutors have charged an Independence, Missouri, man in the shooting at the Independence Center last Friday.
MarkAnthony Greer, 21, is charged with three counts of unlawful use of a weapon and three counts of armed criminal action.
According to court records, Independence officers responded to Independence Center on a reported shooting just before 2:30 p.m. Friday.
An officer on off-duty assignment at Dillards arrived on the shooting scene first and found three injured victims.
One of the three was a woman who was most critically injured and reported to be pregnant. Court documents say she’s currently on life support.
The two other victims are reported to have non-life threatening injuries.
Surveillance video showed a group, including the critically injured woman, encountered a second group in the mall that included Greer. The two groups passed each other at the mall entrance, and a verbal argument began.
Court documents say a victim uninvolved with either group was shot in the leg. The rest of the second group ran to the parking lot.
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The critically injured woman had not followed closely with her group when they encountered the other group. She appeared to be sitting down on a bench about 30 feet away.
Witnesses identified Greer as the shooter or a man who matched Greer’s appearance.
The organizer, Tina Ellison, says that woman in critical condition is 19-year-old Karla Brown. Brown’s mother Jennifer gave permission to FOX4 to share some photos of her daughter. Brown is 20 weeks pregnant. The grandbaby’s name was going to be Max, according to Ellison.
“At a time when they should be planning for their soon to be grandson Max, Jennifer and Chris are now having to plan their daughters funeral,” part of the GoFundMe reads.
“It makes my heart hurt on the fact that this even happened to begin with,” Independence shopper Cheryl Fisher said in an interview with FOX4 Monday. “This is something that shouldn’t have happened.”
Fisher has lived near the Independence Center her entire life. Rarely does she go to it anymore though.
“I know that security, they’ve done better with security, but it’s just tended to go downhill as far as ‘feeling safe’ to go in a public place with large groups of teenagers,” Fisher said.
Fisher is a mom of an 11-year-old and a sophomore at Blue Springs South. She does not let her oldest be unsupervised at an area like this mall.
“We still unfortunately make mom and dad go or another adult go with him just for safety reasons and the fact of, if you get a lot of kids together, they don’t always make the best choices when there’s a bunch of teenagers around,” she continued.
The Independence Police Department does have a substation at the mall, but nobody was working in it Friday because of the Veterans Day Holiday. There’s only one police officer who works there right now.
“If we were full staffed, we’d have two, but we’re running short,” Independence Police Public Information Officer Jack Taylor said in an interview with FOX4 Monday. “So, we’ve got one officer there. We’ve got two supervisors that work out of there that they just use for their offices.”
Taylor says the officers are not just dedicated to that mall either. The one assigned there also works the 39th Street corridor just north of the mall.
On a day like the holiday, officers would be paid more by the department if they worked.
“Everybody is forced off because we don’t want to pay overtime for that right?” Taylor continued. “Because that costs a lot more, so we have to look at what’s the balance between providing the safety and then not over exceeding costs and things like that, so part of that, that’s generally why a lot of our staff is off on a holiday because we just don’t pay for everyone to be here.”