BOISE — Cheri Gypin thought something had fallen from the ceiling when she heard several large bangs at the largest shopping mall in Boise, Idaho.
Then Gypin and a friend saw about 60 people, including families pushing strollers, come running at them — with some shouting there was an active shooter at the mall on Monday afternoon.
“My friend was trying to process it,” Gypin said. “I just looked at her and said, ‘We’ve got to run.’ So we just ran and kept running until we got to the outer perimeter of the parking lot.”
Two people were killed and four injured — including an officer — at the Boise Towne Square shopping mall, authorities said. The officer was injured in an exchange of gunfire with the suspect, who was detained and hospitalized in critical condition, police said.
Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee told reporters that the shooting was reported about 1:50 p.m. and included a report that one person was “shot and down.”
When officers arrived, they saw someone who matched the description of the suspect.
“There was an exchange of gunfire that ensued shortly thereafter, resulting in the officer’s injury, as well as the suspect being taken into custody,” Lee said.
Investigators believe there was only one shooter and that there was no ongoing danger to the public, he said. Police said what they described as the “events” happened inside and outside the mall, but didn’t elaborate.
Police in a statement did not identify the gunman or the victims, citing their ongoing investigation, and said that the officer who was hurt had been treated and released.
“We really cannot at this time speak to any motivation behind it,” Lee said. “I cannot stress enough how traumatic this event is for the community at large, as well as for those that were witnesses, or are the families of those involved or involved themselves.”
After the shooting, several witnesses stood in the rain outside the entrance to Macy’s — one of five large department stores at the mall — waiting to be interviewed by police or to be told they could leave.
Officers from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting in the investigation.
About a quarter of a mile (0.4 kilometers) away, officers closed part of a road near a busy intersection so they could investigate a second crime scene related to the shooting incident. Officers at the second crime scene declined to answer questions.
Investigators were working to notify the family members of those injured and killed in the shooting, Lee said.
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean asked people and the news media to give the victims and their families privacy as they deal with the trauma of the shooting.
“Countless people found themselves in a situation they never would have or should have expected,” McLean said, praising shopkeepers and others for reacting “so quickly to take care of folks that were there. You showed in a tough and chaotic moment how much you care and what you’re willing to do to support and care for strangers.”