By CBSBoston.com Staff

BRAINTREE (CBS) – The South Shore Plaza in Braintree closed Saturday afternoon after a 26-year-old Boston man was shot inside. Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey said the shooting victim is in “grave condition” after being taken to a Boston hospital.

Braintree Police Deputy Chief Tim Cohoon said there was “an encounter in one of the stores” at around 3 p.m. It was between two men, and one pulled out a firearm and shot the other.

Cohoon added that the shooting “looked like a targeted event and didn’t appear to be random at all.”

The mall immediately went into lockdown after that, and Braintree Police issued a warning around 3:30 p.m. to avoid the area. A short time later, police said the mall was closed.

“The suspect, as best we can tell, immediately left the mall,” said Cohoon.

In a press conference Saturday night, Morrissey said they are still determining if there was more than one suspect involved in the shooting.

“We don’t know if it’s a suspect or suspects, we’re trying to sort that out,” said Morrissey.

He also added it is still an active crime scene and is asking those who were inside the mall to provide any information that may be helpful in the investigation.

“Anybody that may have been here between approximately 3:00 and 3:30, who saw really anything out of the ordinary…I would like to hear from you,” Morrissey said. “[The shooting happened] in one of the stores in the plaza, not too far from one of the garages. So obviously we’re interested in people who have may been in that portion of the plaza and or the parking garages.”

Hours after the shooting, police said the mall was cleared and that the scene was secured.

Those inside the mall said there were calls to evacuate the building as soon as the shooting took place.

“I was very close to a door, and I just heard everyone start saying, ‘Evacuate! Evacuate!’ I just dropped my products and started running out with the masses,” said Keri Maceus, who was inside the mall at the time of the shooting.

Shopper Anna Chang was on the first floor when she saw people running.

“I was waiting in line to go buy a drink and I saw everyone running. Then, I decided to go run,” Chang said. “We just all rushed to the exit, and someone said they saw someone with a gun. We all just waited outside and ran toward the outside, and I just kept walking with the crowd.”

Djalissa Monterro, who works at the mall, said she saw a lot of kids crying because their parents were still inside as they were rushed out.

“Knowing that this just happened makes me question working here now,” she said.

Saturday’s shooting isn’t the first at the South Shore Plaza.

In July 2020, a man fired a gun six times inside the mall, hitting a 15-year-old girl. The victim survived, and earlier this month the accused gunman, Jose Rodriguez, pleaded guilty to all the charges against him. The judge sentenced him to eight years in prison.

There was also gang-related gunfire inside the plaza in February of 2017. A fight escalated into a shooting and Michael Spence was arrested after he was identified using surveillance footage and other resources. No one was hurt in that incident.

“This is unacceptable, and we will be working with the South Shore Plaza assignment properties to come up solutions to these problems,” said Braintree Mayor Charles C. Kokoros. “It’s a place that people should be able to go and shop safely, and we should not have gunshots being fired while people are out shopping and enjoying their Saturday.”

The mall was closed for the remainder of the day.

CBSBoston.com Staff