MELBOURNE, Fla. (CBSMiami/AP) — A Florida woman was rushed to the hospital on Saturday morning after her husband opened fire on her in mall food court – killing another person and himself in the process, police said.
Jose Garcia Rodriguez, 57, of Palm Bay, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at Melbourne Square Mall, said Cmdr. Vince Pryce of Melbourne Police.
His 33-year-old wife, Ida, was hospitalized with a gunshot wound in good condition, Pryce said.
“The survivor is the intended victim,” he said.
Around 100 people were in the mall preparing to open their stores for shoppers at 10 a.m. , when witnesses say gun-fire gave way to chaos.
“All the sudden we heard these really loud bangs. There were like eight of them. They were definitely gun shots and there were like people running though the mall and stuff,” said mall employee Cody Jones.
Others hid in a panic.
“I had no where to go else to go, so the only thing I could think of was to scoot in the corner, because I had no where else to go because I didn’t know if he was going after someone. I didn’t know if he was just shooting random people,” said mall employee Tiffany Cox.
Officers responded to reports of multiple gunshots around 9:30 a.m.
“We were still hearing shots when the first officers arrived on scene,” Pryce said.
Officers evacuated the mall, assisting some employees who had locked themselves in closets when they heard gunfire, Pryce said.
Another man died in the shooting. His name was not released, and Pryce said his relationship to the Garcias remained under investigation.
Three handguns were recovered from the scene. When officers found the three victims, Garcia “had several pockets full of ammunition,” Pryce said.
Mall officials posted a statement to Facebook, saying the mall would remain closed until further notice while police continued their investigation. Pryce said authorities planned for the mall to reopen Sunday.
Local television news broadcasts showed yellow police tape stretched across a mall entrance and parking lot.
Donna Evans of Melbourne said she was in the food court when she heard gunfire about 20 feet to 25 feet away.
“We had just gotten our food to sit down by Starbucks and Chik-fil-A, and you just hear the ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,’ and you just drop everything and your body just makes you run,” Evans told Florida Today.
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