CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Police are still investigating the shooting that happened outside of Marketplace Mall Saturday, and people who were there when it happened say they are still shaken in the aftermath.
Shots were fired around 8:30 in the west parking lot near the food court. Champaign police say there is no further information at this point. It is still early in the investigation.
But witnesses we spoke to say they saw this start as an argument in the parking lot that escalated into the shooting.
For many, it started out as some simple Saturday night shopping, but it soon turned into panic for people at the mall.
“Someone started yelling someone has a gun. So, we got up and just started running. Everybody started running,” says Nick Stoltey who was at the mall during the shooting.
But that gun was outside of the mall. Police responded to reports of shots fired. When they got there, police found shell casings spread across the parking lot near the food court, along with shattered car windshields. The crime scene unit quarantined the cars that had been hit.
“All of a sudden, everybody just started running through and screaming. So, we were asking hey, what’s going on? What can we do? Somebody said there was gunshots outside. So, after we found that out, we ran into the back of the store of Icing and locked the door,” says Jonathan Huron.
Huron was there when this happened, and his car was damaged pretty badly. But looking back a day later, he says it is a small price to pay for what could have been much worse.
“It was kind of one of those chances of being at the wrong time at the wrong place…nobody else could really be at fault other than the people that actually did the shooting,” says Huron.
People we spoke to the day after the shooting say this was terrifying. One second they were walking to their car from the mall, and the next,they were taking cover on the ground.
But even with this scary situation, witnesses say the most important thing is that nobody got hurt.