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    BREKING NEWS: 1 dead, 1 injured in shooting at Florida mall; suspect at large: Police


    One person is dead and another injured after a shooting at a Florida mall two days before Christmas, police said.



    The suspect in what is believed to be a targeted shooting fled on foot, police said.

    The incident occurred Saturday around 3:40 p.m. at the Paddock Mall in Ocala in central Florida.

    A male shooting victim was found dead in a common area, police said. He is believed to have been the target, Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken told reporters during a press briefing.

    A woman also suffered a gunshot wound to her leg, Balken said. She was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

    Other injuries stemming from the incident included chest pains and a broken arm, Balken said.

    Police recovered a firearm from the scene believed to have been used in the shooting, Balken said.

    The mall, which was packed with shoppers ahead of the holiday, was evacuated following the shooting.

    “This is the worst thing we can imagine right now at this time of the year,” Balken said. “Somebody has suffered a loss in their family. It’s a horrible time of year for this to happen ever. It’s especially sad during the holidays.”

    Balken said the mall is expected to be closed for the next 12 hours amid the investigation and urged people to avoid the area.

    Police asked any witnesses to come forward amid the search for the suspected shooter.

    “There was a lot of people here shopping at the mall, which means there’s a lot of witnesses that could potentially help us bring this case to a successful resolution,” Balken said.

    Syriah Williams, 18, told ABC News she was shopping at Bath & Body Works with her mother when she heard several shots ring out and “chaos erupted.”

    “The employees opened the back storage area and told everyone to run,” said Williams, who took cover behind the counters at the store.

    Ocala Gazette owner Jennifer Hunt Murty told ABC News Radio she was volunteering at a gift-wrapping station when gunfire erupted about 10 feet away from her.

    “We dropped to the ground,” she said. “I texted the police chief and said active shooter in the mall, and he responded right away.”

    She said she texted the chief where the injured victims were so medics could get to them, and once it seemed safe began interviewing people and taking photos.

    “You never know how you’re going to react in those situations, but I went to work,” she said.

    ABC News’ Layla Ferris contributed to this report.

    This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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