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17-year-old dead after shooting at mall in Lexington, Kentucky

Police respond to shooting at Kentucky mall, not an active shooter incident
Posted at 5:57 PM, Aug 23, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A teenager died Sunday after being shot at a mall in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Fayette County Coroner's Office identified the victim as 17-year-old Kenneth Wayne Bottoms Jr., of Lexington. Bottoms was transported UK Medical Center at about 4 p.m where he was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m.

Two other victims were also injured in the shooting, which police say happened in front of a Bath and Body Works at Fayette Mall.

Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said at least one of the victims and a suspect knew each other. They may have had an interaction prior to the shooting.

Officers are currently interviewing witnesses. No suspects are in custody at this point.

Scripps station WLEX interviewed one Lexington shopper who was inside Bath and Body Works. She says she witnessed an argument outside of the shop that escalated when someone pulled out a gun.

"Held it up at face level... and he shot four shots off," said the shopper.

The shopper, who wished to remain anonymous, says she was escorted with others toward the back of the store.

"We stayed in the bathroom until police got us out of the service door to Bath and Body Works, and they walked us around all of the blood to take us outside," said the shopper.

Mark Thomas was inside his shop, Bourbon Creek, when he saw a group of people run by with sheer panic on their faces. His store was packed at the time, so the retired Lexington police detective quickly jumped into action.

"We had several customers that were wanting to leave, and we have a back door into the parking lot, so we were able to help evacuate people through the store. That's one of the things you want to do as a former police officer is you want to facilitate people getting to safety," said Thomas.

Chief Weathers says the shooting was isolated to one part of the mall. Police say this is not an active shooter incident.

"The mall is currently being evacuated and officers are checking each store. Mall patrons and employees are being sheltered on LexTran buses. Please continue to avoid the area if possible," said the Lexington Police Department.

This video from Chris Floyd shows people being escorted out of the mall.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto responded to the shooting at Fayette Mall with the following statement:

This story was originally published by Eli Gehn, Conroy Delouche, Eleanor Buckley and Jordan Mickle at WLEX.