Update 5:00 PM:
The alleged shooter taken into custody is one Neil MacInnis (age 18), from Christiansburg Virginia. Click the thumbnails of the attached images to view them. (Warning: Contains Graphic Language)
and his apparent Resume:
A source wishing to be anonymous has confirmed to me that the shooting does involve the New River Valley Community College satellite branch which is contained within the mall. Another source just called to let me know that all the store managers are being called in to an emergency meeting to discuss the situation and that ‘the mall will be closed until further notice.’
Story is still unfolding, here’s what we know:
1. Police have a young white male between the ages of 18 and 25 in custody. This individual was reportedly observed handcuffed and shackled by mall employees while the mall was evacuated.
2. There are multiple victims, including two women. One woman was apparently airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital. A hearse was also reportedly on the scene
3. Mall property is under lockdown. Mall employees are being interviewed and being allowed to leave the property.
4. According to witnesses, the response by law enforcement was “massive.” Possibly the largest response by local law enforcement to any incident since the Virginia Tech shooting back in 2007. Police entered the stores within the mall itself with AR15 assault rifles at the ready and instructed the employees to lock the doors and take cover in back rooms.
The mall has no security cameras in the main hallways or outside the entrances. Allied Barton Security services provides unarmed security to the New River Valley Mall, currently owned by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT). Security at the mall is strictly unarmed (observe and report) security.
There has been a number of complaints in the past regarding mall security and their inability to respond to incidents and shoplifting. Out of fairness , I should mention the Christiansburg mall security officers are quite limited in their ability to respond per the terms of Allied Barton’s contract with PREIT mall management. As ‘observe and report’ security they lack the legal capacity to arrest, and in the past have even been instructed by mall management not to follow suspected shoplifters into the parking lots or attempt to obtain license plate information.
Thankfully during this particular incident, one of the mall’s security officer’s had the presence of mind to take action and subdue the shooter, a very gutsy move. The mainstream media has released no detail regarding to which officer took action. I have a very strong suspicion but will respect his desires for privacy. He remains an anonymous hero at the present time.
A confidential source at the mall has informed me that in addition to Christiansburg police, multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the New River Valley rushed to assist. Police responders included officers from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia State Police, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s department. A lone while male suspect, between the ages of 18 and 25 was observed under arrest and in shackles.
Police Officers have been observed entering stores carrying AR15 assault rifles. The mall property and parking lots are currently being evacuated.
As one would expect, numerous situations have happened on mall property over the years where security cameras would be beneficial to both mall security as well as responding law enforcement. A number of store managers have made formal requests of PREIT for increasing mall security as well as security cameras on the premises for the past few years. Their pleas have apparently fallen on deaf ears as no such cameras or improvements to security have occurred.
I distinctly remember Christiansburg Police department installing a small satellite office in the malls food court a couple of years ago. That satellite office has since been removed from the food court (Why?). If nothing else, the presence of the satellite office in the mall was a great deterrent to tragedies such as what occurred today.