WAUWATOSA — Police searched Friday evening for the suspect in a shooting at Mayfair Mall that left seven adults and a teenager injured.
Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber gave no motive for the attack in a brief update about three hours after the 2:50 p.m. incident near an entrance to the Macy’s store. He said the extent of the eight victims’ injuries was unknown, but all were alive. He added that the shooter was ‘‘no longer at the scene’’ when authorities arrived. ‘‘Preliminary statements from witnesses indicate that the shooter is a white male in his 20s or 30s,’’ Weber told reporters. ‘‘Investigators are working on determining the identity of that suspect.’’
The chief called the mall an active crime scene and asked people to continue to stay away. He said the mall would remain closed until further notice.
Some people remained in the mall while police searched for a suspect.
Police later said the shooting was not random, but the result of a confrontation.
At 9:45 p.m., the Wauwatosa Police Department tweeted that Mayfair Mall had been cleared and was secure.
Witnesses said they had heard what they believed to be eight to 12 gunshots.
Steve Humphrie waited outside Mayfair Mall for two hours as he waited to hear from his daughter, Nadia Mitchell-Humphrie. Mitchell-Humphrie was working at LensCrafters inside the mall when she heard about 16 gunshots nearby. She immediately texted her family, unsure of what would happen next.
Humphrie’s drive to Mayfair Mall came with excruciating anxiety as he wondered about the well-being of his daughter.
“Not knowing if your kid is safe ... it’s just a bad situation,” Humphrie said.
Relief washed over Humphrie after his phone lit up with a message from his daughter that said she had finally left the building.
“I just got a text that my daughter is coming out of the main entrance, and that’s the best thing I’ve heard all day,” Humphrie said.
His daughter, Mitchell-Humphrie, burst into tears upon finally being able to embrace her father.
“It sounded like someone was banging on something,” Mitchell-Humphrie said of the gunshots. “Customers came running into the store saying that a guy came in that started shooting and people were running. That’s all we know.”
Milwaukee resident Janite Roberson was shopping with her son at Macy’s, where police say the shooter opened fire, when she heard gunshots. She ran so quickly that she did not get a chance to see what the shooter looked like.
“All I know is the staff came and we had to evacuate because there was gunfire, and then they (Macy’s staff) made us leave out the back,” Roberson said.
While she made it out safely, she remained at the scene as she worried for her niece, who works at Champs inside the mall.
An agent who wouldn’t give his name said the mall was being ‘‘methodically’’ cleared. Heavily armed FBI personnel were visible at the mall.
Mall operator Brookfield Properties said in a statement they were ‘‘disheartened and angered that our guests and tenants were subject to this violent incident today.’’ They declined further comment.
Mayfair Mall was the site of a February shooting in which a city police officer, Joseph Mensah, shot and killed Alvin Cole, a black 17-year-old. Police said Cole was fleeing from police; Mensah, who is also black, said he shot Cole because Cole pointed a gun at him. The mall was the target of sporadic protests over several months in the wake of the shooting.
The Milwaukee County district attorney declined to file charges against Mensah, but the city this week agreed to a separation agreement in which Mensah will be paid at least $130,000 to leave the force.
No further information was released about the Friday shooting before press time.