Columbiana Centre mall reopens following weekend shooting

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Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 8:48 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Columbiana Centre mall opened its doors on Monday for the first time since Saturday’s shooting left 15 people injured, nine with gunshot wounds.

Two days after the chaos, customers were once again walking the halls. Traffic into the parking lot was consistent all afternoon.

Joyce Fields, who has lived in Irmo for 20 years, said for the most part she feels safe at the mall, but has concern about weekend crowds.

“So we wouldn’t bring our grandchildren here on a Friday or Saturday night,” she said. “But normally I just come during the week at this time, I go to Belk, sometimes I’ll walk around the mall and I feel safe.”

Entrances to several stores near where police say Saturday’s incident began were roped off Monday, and mall security was roaming the area.

Plywood covered a glass panel outside the Edge store, and a sign at the Gap said it was closed on Monday.

Courtney Moates was in line for Chick-fil-A at the food court when the shooting happened on Saturday.

“And then all of a sudden you hear, so like when rain hits a metal roof and that tickling noise, you heard that for at least 5 seconds,” she said. “And then for a split second that’s what I thought it was until I see everybody screaming and running toward the exits. Somehow my boyfriend who was behind me, he proceeded to run to the front entrance to exit. And thankfully all the Chick-fil-A employees were like ‘C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, we know what to do.’ So they proceeded all of us to go through the exit in the back.”

Moates said she’s thankful that she was hungry at that time.

“Only because if it wasn’t for that, we would’ve walked right through the mess of where it would have happened,” she said. “And knowing me, I would’ve wanted to go by Build-A-Bear just to look or go by Francesca’s just to peak, you know, all that stuff so it’s really God’s timing in that I was hungry. And thankfully we made it out there safely.”

Moates said she may not feel comfortable returning to the mall until additional safety measures are put in place. She would like to see the mall implement metal detectors, or have security at entrances and exits checking bags.

The mall will be open for its normal operations throughout the week. The mall’s website had initially said that it would be closed on Saturday April 23, but that has since been updated.

This is not the first shooting at Columbiana Centre. In 2016, two men pulled out guns and fired into the air following an argument in front of Kay Jewelers by the food court. No injuries were reported in that shooting.

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