Once police arrived, the shooting had already ended, and officers located the suspect. “Our officers challenged that suspect and were able to safely take that person into custody,” the spokeswoman, Glendale Officer Tiffany Ngalula, said at a news briefing. She said police had no additional information about the suspect, but police believe he was the only one involved in the shooting.
Arizona state Sen. Martín Quezada (D) said on Twitter that he was in the area and had “just witnessed an armed terrorist with an AR-15” carry out the shooting. Police could not confirm the type of weapon used.
“I saw 2 victims with my own eyes,” Quezada wrote. “I saw the shooter. Being told not to say anything else about details 'til I speak to police. I’m ok. Lots of shaken up people.”
I just witnessed an armed terrorist with an AR-15 shoot up Westgate. There are multiple victims.— Sen. Martín Quezada (@SenQuezada29) May 21, 2020
Ngalula said police were aware of a video of the shooting circulating on social media that was purportedly taken by the gunman on Snapchat, although she said police could not confirm the person on the video is the suspect.
Other videos taken by those at Westgate showed people scrambling for safety, with sounds of booming gunfire and screaming babies in the background.
One woman said on Twitter that she and her co-workers were hiding in the back of their shop, writing: “we locked the doors and shut the lights off as soon as we heard the gunshots go off.”
“There is no more terrifying time than right now for everyone who is wondering if their loved ones who were at Westgate are safe, or if they are among those who were hurt,” Mark Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate who is married to former congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), said on Twitter. "@GabbyGiffords and I have been through this, and so have far too many other Americans. We’re with you.”
Giffords survived being shot during a constituent meeting in a parking lot just outside Tucson in 2011.
For some, the shooting was all the more unsettling as it occurred just as malls, restaurants and shops start to reopen in some states, such as Arizona. The Westgate Entertainment District reopened on May 8.
“Almost every nation is struggling to address the coronavirus crisis. Only the US is simultaneously struggling with a gun violence crisis,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, wrote on Twitter. “Americans don’t have to live like this. We sure as hell shouldn’t die like this.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said he was monitoring the situation and “the state stands ready to support.”