'It just kind of took us all by surprise' Shoppers recount experience inside Opry Mills Mall during shooting

Posted at 2:46 PM, Oct 01, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There’s still no suspect behind bars following the frightening shooting at Opry Mills Mall that took place Wednesday, sending one person to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Police say it was a shooting between two groups, and they found two guns in the parking lot nearby.

Though police say it was a targeted shooting Wednesday, they say they don't want to diminish the significance of a shooting in a mall open to customers who had to instantly decide what to do after the shock of the shooting began.

"It just kind of took us all by surprise and gets your heart pumping a bit," said William S., one of the shoppers inside the mall when the shooting happened. "The guy at the Samsonite store, he was kind of shocked too and he grabbed us and pulled us to the back room there and out through the emergency exit."

William, his mom and his friend said they heard sounds like balloons popping, followed by screams during the shooting. Police said one man was seen on camera firing at least three shots. One person was hit in the group-to-group shooting but police say that the victim isn’t talking.

All the while, those inside had to make decisions on how best to stay alive.

"You don't know either way whether you stay in place or try to head out the emergency exit. You just have to make the best decision you can make at the time," said William.

The mall had to be evacuated on Wednesday night but was back open by Thursday morning.