After MacArthur Center shooting, questions raised of security at mall, downtown Norfolk

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is getting some first-hand accounts from people who saw the MacArthur Center shooting as it happened, right in front of them. 

“I thought it was a terrorist attack,” one eyewitness said. 

At 2:15 p.m. Thursday, that’s what many thought, that we were under attack due to lots of gunfire inside MacArthur Center. 

Shamell Lewis was making espressos for customers.

“Before the shooting everybody was normal. I just came in from my shift I heard people fighting and arguing when a fight broke out over by Rootz and that is when it escalated.” 

Lewis shoots video of a man on the ground screaming for an ambulance — he too had a gun. 

“I saw the whole thing.  I saw the fight break out. I saw a guy pull out a gun. I saw the guy that got shot right here in front of EBAR.  I saw him toss his gun to the side. I saw the whole thing.” 

Lewis calls it wild, and doesn’t want to see it again. 

“When it is happening I am saying to myself, I’m thinking I got to stay here, and see the whole thing because people are just running off. Everybody was going everywhere. I got to get my customers out,  that is the only thing that was on my mind.” 

The man on the ground was one of two taken away in an ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. 

The day after, it was business as usual at the mall.

Of course, people were talking about Thursday’s unfortunate events. The question is after the mall shooting: do people feel safe in the MacArthur Center?

Cassadii Brenneman from Norfolk has no issue with security. “I feel safe. This is really a nice area. I always come up here. It is a great community.” 

We asked Lewis about the mall’s image.

“It is still a safe place to be, to shop around, come get some coffee,” Lewis said. “I do think this hurts the mall image … people are kind of scared to come out, especially to come here because it is a mall. It is a safe place to come usually, but now, it is not.” 

Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone sent 10 On Your Side this statement: 

“I want to stress to the citizens of Norfolk that this was an isolated incident,” said, Chief Larry Boone. “As a result of the shooting at the mall, we are in the process of establishing training with our private security partners (who work in MacArthur Center) to work seamlessly in response to these situations. Last year we celebrated the lowest reported crime in 34 years and currently have not had a homicide since 2018. Norfolk is a safe city; violent crime has been trending down for the past two years, and the police department will do whatever is necessary to promote and protect the safety of its citizens.”

Perry Jones from Chesapeake feels the same way as the chief.

“Norfolk has so little violence compared to Richmond and all the other places. One incident isn’t going to scare me.”

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