COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — One person is dead after a shooting Sunday afternoon at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing in Columbus, according to Columbus Police.
The shooting happened at approximately 2:41 p.m. inside the Sole Stop shoe store on the second floor of the mall, police said. Tyrone Gray Jr., 24, of Mansfield, was arrested and charged with murder. Police said he was arrested in the mall’s parking lot.
Columbus police identified Dontarious Sylvester, 25, as the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 3:03 p.m.
In addition, police said a 12-year-old boy was a victim in the shooting but was not injured.
According to Columbus police Sgt. Joe Albert, Gray allegedly fired several shots into the shoe store.
“This appears to be a very isolated incident,” Albert said. “It was not necessarily an active shooter that was going around store to store. It’s a single incident that took place inside the Sole Stop.”
Court documents from the Franklin County Municipal Court revealed that Gray and Sylvester were in a verbal altercation in the store before the shooting, per video recovered by police.
During the argument, Sylvester hit Gray with a handbag with Gray then firing at Sylvester multiple times before calling 911 saying he shot him, per court documents.
Court records state 15-20 people were in the store at the time.
Gray spoke with detectives after being read his rights and admitted to shooting the victim, claiming to have done so in self-defense, per court records.
Albert described the scene at the mall as “very chaotic” as officers went store by store to make sure there were no other people involved in the incident.
Albert said the shoe store had several people inside of it at the time of the shooting.
“It is very devastating we lost, somebody’s life got lost out here, but we’re lucky it was only one,” he said.
The mall was closed Sunday following the shooting, Albert said. He did not know when it would reopen.
Police said initial information into the shooting shows a confrontation between Gray and Sylvester led to the shooting, adding there is video evidence that detectives will be reviewing.
This was at least the fifth shooting near major central Ohio shopping centers in recent years, including two inside the Polaris Fashion Place just two weeks apart in March 2021, and at least two shots fired calls at Easton Town Center in March 2021 and August 2021.
“It’s concerning because they’re obviously very high populated locations, but like I said, this appears to be a very isolated incident, appears to be directed, doesn’t appear like somebody was just firing shots inside of a store,” Albert said.
Shoppers inside the mall at the time describe the scene as chaotic.
“When the gunshot went off, everybody was ducking, running, screaming, hollering,” said James Berry, who said he was in the store across from the shoe store.
“I heard a pop, and then I heard a swarm of people just come into the H&M, like, so many people,” said Holly Rankin. “I knew something was going on and they said, ‘Just leave everything, just run, run, run,’ and we just started running through the back of the mall, through the tunnel, the stairways.”
Rankin said she was inside the dressing room of a store when she heard the shots.
“I just wanted to get out of the mall and if I had to run wherever, but it’s just like so many things, like, your life, what you’ve done, what you want to accomplish, it just goes through your mind,” she said.
“It’s sad because people do bring their kids out,” Berry said. “Kid could have been hit or anything. People don’t think about the things they do before they do them.”
The owners of the property, the Woodmont Company, have yet to return a request for comment.
Gray is scheduled to be arraigned in Franklin County Municipal Court Monday.
Anyone with any information or photos or video they are willing the share with police is asked to contact the city’s homicide division at (614) 645-4730.