A man argued with his former wife at a Southern California mall before shooting her to death and turning the gun on himself, authorities said, leading shoppers to run into stores and out the exits Saturday.
The 33-year-old Los Angeles-area gunman was wounded and taken to a hospital, officials said. He was in critical condition, the Ventura County Star newspaper reported .
The man went to a store at The Oaks mall in the city of Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Los Angeles, and had an argument with the 30-year-old victim before shooting her, Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow said.
The divorced couple have children, who have been found safe, said Buschow, adding that initial indications show the shooting was a murder and attempted suicide.
The gunshots at the shopping center with open-air and indoor shopping space led to some chaos and a lockdown.
Jeffrey Simpson, 17, was shopping with his mother at a department store when an announcement came over the intercom about a threat outside the mall.
“I went to Nordstrom to get pants, and the next thing I know, the doors are being sealed,” Simpson told The Associated Press.
He said he and his mom were “a little shaken” but OK. They were in the store for more than an hour but shoppers were free to move around and employees were helping people stay comfortable and calm, Simpson said.
Matt Lemieux told the newspaper that he was working on his computer inside a coffee store when he suddenly saw “a whole group of people” running by.
“It was creepy,” he said.