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Witnesses describe Columbiana Centre Mall shooting

Gunfire injures 10, 2 others trampled during shooting incident at Irmo, South Carolina shopping mall

IRMO, S.C. — A shooting at a Columbia, South Carolina mall has ended with 10 wounded and two more injured during the dash to the exits.

News19 WLTX reporters talked to witnesses at the scene. Here's what some of them said:

Duane Loveday was working inside Columbiana Centre Mall at Auntie Anne’s. “At the time, I was coming to the front of the counter and all of a sudden I heard a gun going off – 20 to 30 rounds," he recalled. "Sounded like a switch, either a 9mm or a 45.

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"Everybody started running through the mall. We were still on the floor, trying to get our employees to the back of the store. We walked out, but there was still a lot of chaos. The police took about 10 or 15 minutes, I think everybody didn’t know what was going on. I think people thought maybe it was fireworks and stuff, but there were several people down in the hallway, about 25 feet away from us."

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He said while he and his fellow employees were leaving the mall, they saw, "in front of Build A Bear -- we saw people on the ground, we saw people tending to them, we saw class shattered, we saw rounds of ammunition."

A gentleman outside of the mall was there to pick up his daughter.

The unidentified man said, "When the shots started happening, I'd just got there about 5 minutes before it happened. My daughter had been there (at Columbiana Centre Mall) all day. It was a pretty scary event. 

"There were about 10 shots or so rang out before they were done, thank God, I grabbed her and we were running out the door. People were coming out all of the doors, every single exit. It was a pretty serious situation."

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said three persons of interest have been identified and this was not a random shooting. 

Columbia Police's Criminal Investigations Bureau has set up a dedicated hotline for witnesses to call: 803-545-3525.

This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more information is available.

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