A bystander shot and helped detain a 16-year-old boy suspected of fatally shooting another teen as two groups fought in Cielo Vista Mall, El Paso police said late Friday night.
Angeles Zaragoza, 17, was with a group consisting of a 17-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl, a 16-year-old boy, a 14-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl when they got into an argument with another group around 5 pm Wednesday near the food court at the mall, police officials said.
The other group included the suspected shooter — a 16-year-old boy — along with a 20-year-old man, a 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy.
Police did not release the name of the suspect or the other people involved in the fight.
The argument between the groups escalated into a physical fight during which the 16-year-old suspect pulled out a gun and fatally shot Zaragoza and seriously wounded the 17-year-old boy who was with Zaragoza, officials said.
The 20-year-old man, who was with the alleged shooter, was also shot.
After the shooting, the suspect ran away while pointing his gun towards the direction of bystanders, including a 32-year-old man, police said.
The bystander pulled out his gun as the suspect ran towards him and other bystanders and shot the suspect, police said. Police identified the bystander as being licensed to carry a firearm.
“As soon as the shooting ended, the 16-year-old suspect began to run and was pointing the gun towards the direction of bystanders, including (bystander), a Licensed to Carry Holder,” police said. “As the suspect ran towards (bystander) and bystanders, (bystander) drew his handgun and shot the suspect,” according to the news release.
The El Paso Times is not identifying the bystander since he has not been charged with a crime.
More:El Paso police say fight between 2 groups led to fatal shooting at Cielo Vista Mall
An off-duty El Paso Police Department officer, who was working security at the mall, arrived at the area of the shooting and helped the bystander render aid to the suspect and the others who were injured in the shooting, police said.
Police initially stated after the shooting that the off-duty police officers were responsible for taking the suspect into custody and never mentioned a bystander being involved.
There were at least two other legally armed bystanders in the area where the shooting took place, but were not involved, police said. Texas has a constitutional carry gun law allowing 21-year-old and older residents to carry concealed weapons.
More:‘No one feels safe’: Cielo Vista Mall shooting triggers the trauma of Walmart tragedy
Police said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing and charges are pending against the 16-year-old suspect.
The suspect remains in the hospital and is last listed in stable condition, police said.
This is the fourth murder of 2023 compared to two at this time last year, police said.
Cielo Vista Mall reopens to the public
Cielo Vista Mall was fairly busy Friday after being closed for more than a day.
The mall reopened Friday morning after being placed on lockdown as soon as police responded to Wednesday evening’s shooting. The mall remained closed Thursday as the police continue their investigation.
Mall officials said Thursday that security would be increased as a precautionary measure even though police determined the shooting was the result of an isolated fight between two groups.
Several private security guards were seen in many areas of the mall Friday afternoon.
The mall, with about 140 stores, is El Paso’s largest shopping center, and one of the busiest malls in the country.
The El Paso Police Department is asking the public to contact the Department’s Property Office at 915-212-0295 to schedule a pick up for any items that were left behind at Cielo Vista Mall due to the shooting.
Anyone who was at the mall at the time of the shooting and may have photos or videos of the incident are asked to upload the media to fbi.gov/cielovistamallshooting.
Aaron Martinez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AMartinezEPT.
Vic Kolenc can be reached at 546-6421; email@example.com; @vickolenc on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Cielo Vista Mall shooting: Bystander shot shooter as suspect fled