A Florida mall shooting erupted in a food court in Melbourne, leaving two dead and one injured.
According to Baynews9, Jose Garcia-Rodriguez, 57, of Palm Bay, walked into the Melbourne Square Mall at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. He then reportedly opened fire, shooting his 33-year-old wife, Ida Garcia-Rodriguez, an employee at the mall, as well as an unidentified man.
Garcia-Rodriguez turned the gun on himself and took his own life shortly thereafter. His wife is expected to recover from her injuries, but the unidentified man was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Three handguns were discovered at the scene, reports the Washington Post.
Melbourne police officials say Garcia-Rodriguez had several pockets filled with ammunition prior to walking into the shopping center. As a precaution, a bomb squad was called in to investigate his vehicle in the parking lot as well as Garcia-Rodriguez’s home, but nothing was found.
Police believe the tragedy involved a domestic dispute between the married couple, but they don’t have all of the facts as of yet.
Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan stated, “This is a tragic event, and I am sending prayers to the family.”
At the time of the shooting, Melbourne Square Mall wasn’t yet open to customers. Most of the people in the mall were workers and individuals utilizing the gym to work out, which was about 100 people, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Melbourne residents Donna Evans and Elizabeth Tickle were both inside of the mall when the shooting occurred. They had just received their food and were about to sit down when they heard the gunshots.
“It was a frightening experience, something that you don’t ever want anybody to experience, It was crazy. We had just gotten our food to sit down by Starbucks and Chick-fil-A, and you just hear the ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,’ and you just drop everything and your body just makes you run.”
Elizabeth explained how many gunshots she heard in the food court area at the Florida mall.
“We started hearing ‘pop, pop.’ I figured somebody was shooting somebody. It’s going on all the time now. How many pop pops did you think you heard? I think about six. It was a lot. It was a lot.”
Garcia-Rodriguez’s neighbor also spoke to the press, and appeared to be in shock when he learned of what he had done.
“It blows my mind. Jose was just a really good guy.”
The mall remained closed, and it isn’t expected to open until Sunday morning at their regular time.
[Image via ABC7]