Update: At approximately 3:40 p.m. this afternoon, the Ocala Police Department received a call reporting a shooting at Paddock Mall, indicating multiple shots fired.
The information suggested an active shooter scenario, prompting a swift and substantial police response.
Law enforcement entered the building to address the perceived threat. Upon investigation, it was determined that there was no active shooter, but indeed a shooting had taken place within the mall.
Tragically, an adult male was discovered deceased in a common area, and a woman, suffering from non-life-threatening injuries, was transported to the hospital for treatment.
The belief is that the shooter has fled the area and is currently at large. Initial indications suggest that this incident may have been a targeted attack.
A comprehensive sweep of the mall is underway, and a thorough investigation into the shooting is in progress.
Authorities are urging anyone present during the incident with information relevant to the investigation to contact Ocala Crime Stoppers at 352-368-7867.
Gunfire erupted at Paddock Mall in Ocala around 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, leading to the presumed death of at least one individual and causing injuries to multiple others.
An eyewitness reported at least eight shots fired in the central mall area near Macy’s. By 4:18 p.m., the situation was no longer considered an active threat.
The Ocala Police Department suspects that the shooter has escaped the scene.
A woman was shot in the Kay Jewelers with injuries that seem to be non-life-threatening, as reported by Murty.
On the other hand, a man, who was shot outside Starbucks, suffered severe injuries, described as life-threatening, with a gunshot wound to either the neck or head, resulting in his death at the scene.
“We had to maintain silence due to the ongoing gunfire, so I sent a text to Chief Balken of the OPD on his cellphone, informing him about the active shooter and requesting assistance,” she explained.
The shopping center was bustling with customers when the shooting occurred, merely two days before Christmas. Members of the Vanguard High School Band were staging a performance in the mall.
An unnamed individual shared that he was awaiting his children, aged 15 and 20, who took refuge in a closet upon hearing the gunshots.
This is a developing story that will be updated when more information is available.