It was the second shooting on Tuesday and the latest in a recent spate of shootings in Marion County.
The mall shooting left a 21-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy with non-life threatening injuries, according to the Ocala Police Department.The two were in a white Nissan along with an 18-month-old baby when the shooting began just before 5 p.m. The baby was not injured.
At least 15 shots were fired during the incident, said OPD Chief Mike Balken.
The car stopped near the food court entrance and the woman and teenager jumped out and ran toward the mall entrance. The woman collapsed just outside, while the teen got inside, Balken said.
The mall was locked down and then evacuated after police secured the area.
Angel Plaster waited in the rain in the Goodwill parking lot near the mall waiting for word of her daughter, who works for one of the food vendors.
“I don’t know what’s going on. I just want to make sure my baby is OK,” Plaster said.
Just then, her daughter, Elizabeth Wilcox, walked up behind Plaster. The two hugged tightly.
“Honestly, we thought someone dropped a platter at Chick-fil-A. Then someone said it was a shooting and people started running,” Wilcox said.
She hid in a storage room, sittng on a cardboard box until they got the all clear.
At around 1 p.m. Marion County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting in the 2000 block NW 42nd Street.
Officers found one person shot and they were taken to the hospital. No other information about thay shooting was immediately available.
It was not clear if the two shootings were related.
On July 22, Joshua Tyson, 16, was shot and killed at an incident at Sutton Place Apartments, 523 NE 23rd Circle. Tyson was shot multiple times just before 9:30 p.m. and died at the hospital, according to OPD.
No arrests were made in that shooting, the second fatal shooting of a teen at Sutton Place since December. Police said they found a stolen handgun in Tyson’s possession.
Less than 24 hours later, an 18-year-old man was shot at least four times in a 2 p.m. shooting at the Promenade of Ocala Apartments, 1421 SW 27th Ave. The man, who was not identified by police, remains in critical condition.
Jihad Kiran Elvy, 19, was arrested after a K9 officer found him hiding in a wooded area nearby. Police also recovered a handgun about 10 feet from where Elvy was hiding, according to reports.
On July 25, a male juvenile was grazed by a bullet during a drive-by shooting near the Happiness Homes neighborhood, at Northwest 21st Street and Northwest 24th Road. The injuries were not life-threatening, according to police.
“This has got to stop. This is Ocala, Florida. It is alarming the amount of violence and gunplay that has taken place especially in recent months,” Balken said.