The festive atmosphere at the Paddock Mall in Ocala, Florida, was shattered on a Saturday afternoon, just two days before Christmas. A targeted shooting incident took place, leaving one person dead and another injured.
The Ocala Police Department responded swiftly to the distress call, attempting to restore order and ensure the safety of shoppers and employees.
According to the Ocala Police Department, the shooting occurred around 3:40 p.m. Police received reports of multiple shots fired within the premises of the Paddock Mall. Officers arrived promptly at the scene and discovered the lifeless body of a 40-year-old man, identified as David Nathaniel Barron, in a common area of the mall.
Another victim, a woman, sustained a gunshot wound and was immediately transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
“OPD is responding to an active shooting situation that occurred at the Paddock Mall,” the post continued. “There is a heavy police presence on scene and we will provide more information as it becomes available. Please avoid the area at this time.”
As the authorities worked diligently to secure the area, they confirmed that the suspect had fled, leaving behind a firearm.
In a press conference, Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken conveyed that the incident was believed to be a targeted act of violence.
“We will continue to update with more information as we have it,” Rep. Kat Cammack’s (R-Fla.) office posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Please pray for those injured and the men and women of our law enforcement who will work overtime until this individual is found.”
Authorities described the shooter as a Black male wearing a black hoodie, black pants, and a partially covering black mask. The search for the suspect is ongoing, with law enforcement agencies dedicated to bringing him to justice.
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