OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man suspected of shooting another man during an argument inside an Oklahoma City mall, prompting frightened shoppers to hide, was jailed Friday on $500,000 bond after surrendering to police, authorities said.
Capt. Larry Withrow said Elizha Sanders, 24, was arrested the Thursday shooting that wounded Gerron Cobb, 22, inside Penn Square Mall.
After Sanders was identified as the suspect, officers with the Oklahoma City Police Gang Unit, Criminal Intelligence Unit and U.S. Marshals Service were able to contact his father, Withrow said. “His father convinced him to contact police and turn himself in” around 1:30 a.m. Friday in the nearby city of Moore, Withrow said.
Online jail records show Sanders was booked on a complaint of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, but do not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf. C ourt records show bond was set at $500,000 but don’t indicate whether formal charges have been filed.
The shooting forced the mall to close as police spent hours searching stores and clearing out shoppers who had taken cover. Withrow said video footage from the mall shows the suspect leaving just after the fight.
Cobb was shot in the chest. Withrow said Cobb remained hospitalized Friday in stable condition.
Police said the suspect, wearing sweatpants but no shirt, was seen fleeing from the area near the Foot Locker shoe store. Withrow said the shooting happened in the Foot Locker following what witnesses described as an argument and physical altercation between the two men.
Withrow said investigators were still trying to determine whether the two men knew each other and a motive for the altercation that led to the shooting.
“When the shooting started, there were bunch of people hid in closets, hid in back rooms, locked the stores,” Sgt. Kris Gellenbeck said earlier. “So they’re having to go store to store to clear the civilians out and look for the suspect.”
The shooting came amid the busy holiday shopping season. Those standing in the mall’s parking lot after the shooting included a person dressed as Santa Claus.
Amari Lafevers, who works at J.C. Penney in the mall, told The Oklahoman that she was completing a sale at a cash register when people started running and saying, “Shots fired! Shots fired!”
“You know it’s kind of surreal because you don’t really know what to do in that moment,” she said. “It’s just you don’t really think it will happen to us until it does.”
Among those evacuated from the mall were members of the Oklahoma City Thunder who had been at a private movie screening. A team spokesman says the team was never in any danger.
Withrow said the shooting appears to have been an isolated incident involving only Sanders and Cobb.
“We don’t have anything to indicate that this was an active shooter with multiple targets,” Withrow said.
Associated Press writer Jamie Stengle in Dallas and Associated Press photographer Sue Ogrocki in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.