Mall Safety the Day After Shooting at Oaks Mall
The day after a shooting in the Oaks Mall parking lot, safety is at the top of the list for shoppers. Yesterday steps away from Don Pablo's restaurant, 47 year old Howard Shipley was the victim of a shooting.
While law enforcement says it's an isolated incident, today local shoppers are asking what should they do to stay safe?
"All in all until yesterday no one ever thinks [it can happen to them], I mean anyone can carry a handgun in there," said one shopper.
What was first a national story of tragic shootings in Omaha, Nebraska, has hit home here in Gainesville when a shooting took place at 5 p.m. yesterday in the parking lot of the Oaks Mall. No one was killed, and law enforcement are calling it an isolated incident.
Sgt. Art Adkins, of Gainesville Police Dept. says, "We really don't have that many incidents during the holidays we really don't have anymore than we would during the course of the year."
An Oaks Mall spokesperson would not comment on the incident, nor the mall's security policies, but in a statement said that safety of their shoppers is a priority.
"The reason I think the holidays get so much attention is several factors: one everyone's out shopping for the holidays you see more people in the stores you see more activity it almost moves at a frenetic pace," adds Adkins.
But mall security aren't the only people on hand, GPD has a unit stationed in the mall as well. And they say that shoppers can play a key role in keeping themselves safe. But many aren't clear on what they are.
Shopper, Barbara Foster explained, "Not really I guess trying to keep your bag close. trying to stay in a group."
GPD says that the same safety precautions people take throughout the year should be employed now.
"Don't juggle your items, juggle your purse, juggle your wallet, juggle your money, juggle the items that you have in your hand. Take a moment to collect yourself," cautions Adkins. And always be aware of your surroundings, don't walk in areas that are unlit. "The malls do have many exits, most of the stores have multiple entrances and most of them are all well lit," he adds.
Many smart shoppers are already taking heed. Barbara Wilhite added, "During the day time I have my daughter with me we parked as close as we possibly could."
Yesterday's shooting victim Howard Shipley is still being treated at Shands hospital.
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