2 injured, 1 in custody after shooting at Va. mall

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A man shot and injured two women at a mall branch of a community college in Virginia Friday before he was subdued by police, a city official said.

The suspected gunman was being interviewed by police Friday evening as law enforcement continued to clear the New River Valley Mall, said Christiansburg city spokeswoman Becky Wilburn. The mall in this town of approximately 21,000 in southwestern Virginia includes a branch campus of New River Community College. Christiansburg is less than 10 miles from Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech.

The suspect’s name was not immediately released and a motive for the shootings was not known.

One of the victims was airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, but spokesman Eric Earnhart could not provide additional information on her identity or condition.

The other victim was taken by ambulance for treatment. She was in stable condition Friday afternoon but was transferred to another hospital to get specialized care, said Nancy May, a spokesman for Lewis Gale Hospital at Montgomery.

Student Josh Brown said he was working on a computer near the classrooms when the shots were fired.

“I heard one gunshot, and I didn’t know what it was. ... I saw people running out,” he told The Roanoke Times.

Brown then got up and ran out himself.

“I’ll be scared to come back to school,” he told the newspaper as he started to cry. “What’s wrong with people? Who would do something like this?”

Friday isn’t usually a busy day at the school’s mall campus, Ben Kramer, an activities counselor for the community college, told the newspaper. Enrollment is roughly 1,500, and about a third of those students likely were on campus, he said.

Wilburn said emergency officials received a 911 call around 2 p.m. about someone with a gun and shots fired at the college’s satellite location in the New River Valley Mall outside of Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech. Authorities do not believe there’s any continuing threat to the community, Wilburn said.

The community college was closed Friday following the shooting and Saturday classes were cancelled, according to its website.

Montgomery County Schools were briefly locked down as a precaution.

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