CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– A 22-year-old woman was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm at the Champaign County Courthouse Tuesday in relation to a shooting Saturday at Market Place Mall.
The 22-year-old, Diamond Mitchell, claimed self-defense.
The altercation, turned shooting, started near the food court around 2:00 p.m. over the sale of a pair of shoes, according to Champaign Police Lieutenant Ben Newell.
The argument between Mitchell and a 19-year-old turned physical when the teenager allegedly punched Mitchell in the face, according to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz.
“I think as a society we need to be asking ourselves why an argument over shoes ended up in a shooting in the parking lot at the mall,” Rietz added.
She said witnesses then watched Mitchell follow him outside and the shot was fired in the parking lot, hitting the 19-year-old in the leg.
The shooting was an isolated incident and no one else was hurt, according to Lt. Newell. Police do not believe the two knew each other prior to Saturday.
Mitchell — who claims she was acting out of self-defense when she fired her gun — has a firearm’s owner’s identification card.
That said, Rietz told us the evidence does not suggest the 22-year-old was in imminent danger so self-defense would not apply.
“The fact that she has a concealed carry license is a factor to consider but that does not mean she automatically has a legal right to fire a firearm in response to a situation,” Rietz continued.
Concealed firearms are not permitted in Market Place Mall anyway, the State’s Attorney added.
Mitchell also faces a misdemeanor domestic battery charge for a separate incident in 2021. Rietz said because that’s pending, it does not have an effect on the legality of her FOID license.
A Mahomet Girl Scout Troop was there as it all unfolded on Saturday afternoon.
“We didn’t know what to tell them,” shared troop leader, parent and teacher Sunny McMurry. “We didn’t know what was going on. We just knew there was an active shooter situation.”
What was a fun afternoon of selling girl scout cookies, turned into a lockdown.
“One of the parents was going to go to the bathroom and then he came running back over and said a security guard had just stopped him and it was an active shooter situation,” McMurry described.
She told us they hunkered down in the mall for about a half-hour but McMurry said it felt like hours.
“The girls were pretty emotional,” she added. “One of them had a panic attack where she wasn’t able to breathe and then all of them were crying, and as parents, we were trying to keep it together for them.”
Evacuation was not possible for McMurry and her troop in this scenario because the shot was fired in the parking lot.
She said just the fear of what could’ve happened and being there waiting, has left her, her own daughter and all of the other kids with so much to process.
McMurry told us what started off as shock and fear on Saturday has turned into anger in the days following.
“Like, what’s happening that we’re living in a space where it’s in the middle of a Saturday afternoon,” she added.
If convicted, Mitchell would face up to 30 years in prison. According to attorneys in the courtroom Monday, police did not find a gun on the victim.
Rietz said there is a possibility for further charges, including against the 19-year-old victim who allegedly punched Mitchell.