Three injured in Arizona shooting




  • In US
  • 2020-05-21 20:00:10Z
  • By NBC News
Three injured in Arizona shooting
Three injured in Arizona shooting  

Three people were injured and a suspect was in custody after a shooting Wednesday evening in a suburban Phoenix shopping and entertainment complex, police said.

One of the victims in the Glendale, Arizona, shooting was a 19-year-old man who suffered life-threatening injuries. Glendale police Sgt. Randy Stewart said at a news conference on Thursday that the man is currently hospitalized in critical condition.

A 16-year-old girl was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and a woman, 30, did not need to be transported to the hospital, Stewart said.

When officers arrived at the northern edge of the Westgate Entertainment District shortly after 7:25 p.m. there was no longer active gunfire, Officer Tiffany Ngalula said. Stewart said officers arrived on the scene within five minutes of the 911 call.

"Our officers challenged that suspect and were able to safely take that person into custody," Ngalula said. The shooter, later identified as Armando Hernandez Jr., of Peoria, was unharmed. A black assault rifle was found at the scene, according to Stewart.

He faces charges 16 felony charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault causing serious injury, discharging a firearm, criminal damage and disorderly conduct with a weapon.

Hernandez, 20, admitted to detectives that he was the shooter and said he planned to go to Westgate to harm 10 people, Stewart said.

"He said that he went to Westgate to target victims. He wanted to gain some respect and he felt that he had been bullied in his life," the sergeant said.

The suspect arrived at Westgate and went into the entertainment section to scope it out, according to Stewart. Hernandez then went back to his vehicle, got a weapon and loaded three rifle magazines.

Stewart said it's not clear why Hernandez chose Westgate and he "does not know for sure exactly why the suspect decided 10 people."

"He did mention to the investigators that he gave up when he saw the officers responding," Stewart added. The suspect's vehicle was found at the scene and his home was searched.

Neighbors and people at the outdoor complex were told to shelter in place as a precautionary search of the area was underway Thursday night, Ngalula said.

Some residents were getting reverse 911 calls advising them to stay inside, she said. The shelter in place was lifted around midnight.

Lights were out in the area at the same time, Ngalula said. Stewart told reporters Thursday that the power outage was connected to the shooting. According to the sergeant, Hernandez shot a transformer that was near one of the victims. Stewart said it could have been a stray round that struck the transformer.

Police have asked members of the public who might have recorded video of the violence or discovered social media video of a possible suspect to help detectives investigating the attack.

"Any information would be part of the evidence at this time," Ngalula said.

The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting Glendale police with the investigation.

State Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, said on Twitter that he had seen the attack.

"I just witnessed an armed terrorist with an AR-15 shoot up Westgate," he wrote.

The complex is in the district Quezada has represented for more than a decade, a spokesman for the lawmaker said.

Quezada "has been an outspoken advocate for gun reform and is deeply shaken and saddened to have witnessed such a horrible tragedy in our nation yet again," he said in a statement Wednesday night.

The Westgate Entertainment District includes shops, a theater, restaurants and bars just north of State Farm Stadium, where the NFL's Arizona Cardinals play.

The district announced new restaurant hours May 14 after the state allowed eateries to reopen with new safety protocols to prevent spread of COVID-19.

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