Shot dead person closes CT mall, law enforcement sources say

MANCHESTER — Police say they are looking for a suspect who shot a loss prevention officer at the Shoppes in Buckland Hills on Friday afternoon.

The shooting happened when the loss prevention officer tried to confront a shoplifting suspect, Manchester Police Lieutenant Ryan Shea said.

The suspect then shot the officer in the abdomen outside Macy’s men’s store around 12.20pm on Friday, according to Manchester Police Captain John Laughlin.

The security guard, a 27-year-old man, was alert and conscious when he was taken to hospital in Hartford, where he remained late Friday afternoon.

Police believe the suspect fled the area after the incident, according to Shea. Police released photos of the suspect, who was wearing a dark blue basketball jersey, on Friday night.


The mall, which is on Buckland Hills Drive about 21/2 miles north of Manchester city centre, was closed for several hours but was fully reopened by mid-afternoon on Friday.

Several officers were probing the Fairwood Inn and Suites and the Homewood Suites Hilton in nearby Manchester “just to make sure the public is safe,” Laughlin said.

Macy’s spokeswoman Stephanie Jimenez said the store is working closely with local police on the investigation.

“We are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred today at Macy’s Pavilions in Buckland Hills,” Jimenez said in a statement. “The safety of our customers and co-workers is Macy’s top priority.”

During the incident, some H&M customers said they were locked in the back of the store near the changing rooms. They were then released after approximately 45 minutes.

Three local teenagers were among those trapped in the store.

South Windsor residents Amanda Bengtson, Marisa Resnick and Zach Gebhart drove to the mall around noon. Gebhart, 18, was the first to arrive and saw a number of first responders make their way to Macy’s.

At first, Gebhart assumed the department store had a fire and decided to enter the mall in a different way. Gebhart then texted his friends about what was going on.

Bengtson, 16, called his father, who is a firefighter, to ask what was going on. He then warned her not to enter Macy’s, she told Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

The friends entered H&M and alerted employees to the heavy police presence. Employees closed the store and kept customers at the back.

Lynden Edwards Jr, of Windsor, and a friend were at the nearby Dave and Busters when they saw lots of police cars at the mall.

After learning about the shooting, they decided to go to the mall once it reopened about three hours later.

“I still keep my eyes open, but now I’m more aware,” Edwards said. “We thought it was secure now.”

Anyone who witnessed this incident or has information can call the Manchester Police Department at 860-645-5500.

Writers Jesse Leavenworth and Liz Hardaway contributed to this story.