The victim in the shooting was named on Aug. 29, 2023. For more recent coverage, follow this link.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — One person is dead and two teenagers have been arrested after a shooting Sunday night at Easton Town Center that led to the mall being locked down.
According to a Columbus police dispatcher, the initial call for the incident was received about 6:15 p.m., with the caller saying they were calling from near the Lululemon store.
Within one minute of the call, the victim was found near Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on Grammercy Street by an officer working special duty at the center, Columbus Police Sgt. Joe Albert said. The officer rendered aid to the victim, but the victim was pronounced dead at 6:50 p.m. at Mount Carmel East hospital.
Police said Monday morning the victim was a juvenile male and that two 13-year-old boys were arrested, with one charged with murder and the other with obstructing justice. In a court appearance, the attorney for the teen charged with murder denied the charge, and the judge ordered the teen to remain in custody at least until his next appearance, scheduled for Thursday. Prosecutors allege that the teen tried to hide the gun inside a trash can at the shopping center.
The second suspect also denied the charge. Prosecutors said the suspect lied to officers about his whereabouts until officers spotted him on video. He was released and ordered to wear an ankle monitor, allowed only to be at home or his middle school. The teen is also not allowed to have access to social media.
After the shooting, Albert said law enforcement officers immediately locked down the area and began investigating near where the victim was found and also escorted shoppers and employees from the area safely.
“Early indication is this is an isolated incident,” Albert said. “This does not appear to be an active shooter situation. This was an isolated incident in front of the mall.”
Watch Columbus police news conference on Easton shooting
Initial reports of a second victim were not true, Columbus Police Deputy Chief Greg Bodker said.
During a news conference Sunday night, Bodker said several people, including “a number” of juveniles, were in the area when the shooting happened.
“There were a lot of children at Easton today, and there were a lot of adults at Easton today,” Bodker said. “These [juveniles] are people who should not have guns in the first place, and so if you are under 18 and you’re carrying a firearm, you’re doing it illegally.”
NBC4’s Cierra Johnson, who was at the scene when the incident started, said she was evacuated from the AMC Theater by officers carrying rifles.
Also at the scene, NBC4 Today anchor Matt Barnes said the entire town center was being evacuated, with lots of people running without being told what was happening. He said he heard a Columbus police helicopter flying overhead and that crime scene tape was set up near the LEGOLAND store.
Easton reopened for normal operations on Monday morning. A statement from the town center’s management thanked police officers who responded as well as its own security force. The statement went on to say Easton public safety officers are always monitoring the shopping center on foot and by car and bike. The statement also said management is reviewing the center’s safety protocols and will make adjustments as needed.
Columbus police were assisted at the scene by Gahanna police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.