INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — There are still some unanswered questions one day after a scary situation Monday at Independence Center.
Mall employees and customers were forced to shelter after someone started firing shots inside. Fortunately no one was injured. It’s just one of several incidents at the mall in recent years.
“We immediately knew it was gunfire and ran into the closest store,” one customer said.
The city of Independence is responding to a problem that has plagued the shopping center for some time.
Since 2018, there have been multiple shootings, fights and other disturbances at Independence Center.
- January 2018: Two teens attempt to rob another teen, leading to a deadly shooting.
- November 2019: A big brawl damaged property and a police car.
- October 2020: There was a fight reportedly involving 300 juveniles.
- December 2020: Another massive fight involving hundreds of teens broke out.
- December 2020: A 16-year-old was shot on New Year’s Eve at Independence Center.
- January 2021: One person was shot in the parking lot of the mall.
- January 2021: A man pointed a toy rifle at a customer, leading to charges for making a terrorist threat.
- August 2021: A 20-year-old was charged with unlawful use of a weapon for a fight at the mall.
In a statement to FOX4, City Manager Zach Walker said: “The City Council has taken aggressive steps in recent years to enhance safety at all commercial centers, including the Independence Center.”
Those steps included setting curfews for those under 18 and establishing a task force that helped by doubling security.
One of the men who sat on that task force was former councilman Mike Huff. He said more must be done to curb violence at Independence Center.
“Evidently we didn’t get all the bases covered or maybe we need to look at what we got going, that maybe we failed somewhere along the line here,” Huff said.
Police don’t believe Monday’s incident was intended to harm multiple people. Instead, they believe it was a disturbance that got out of hand. At this time, no suspect has been identified.
“Acts of violence such as those displayed on Monday are not welcome in our community, and we will continue to review our city code for additional security enhancements,” Walker said.
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