No injuries were reported and police were unable to locate the shooter, according to Tracy Police Department spokesman Sgt. Tony Sheneman.
“We have no suspects, no victims and no motive,” Sheneman said, standing near the Sears parking lot adjacent to the shooting scene.
“We hope someone will come forward and say something,” he said. “It appears he was firing into the mall."
Mall security told Tracy Police they had chased the gunman into the eastside parking lot, he said.
To search for the gunman, members of the Tracy Police Department S.W.A.T. team were called in, he said. They searched more than 100 parked and exiting vehicles.
The gunman was never found.
Police searching the area for evidence from the shooting gathered nearly 10 bullet shell casings from the bushes inside the eastern parking lot, just south of the entrance doors.
Shoppers inside the mall reported hearing loud bangs when the shooting started.
“It sounded like firecrackers,” said 12-year-old Maria Martinez, who was near the eastern entrance at the time of the shooting with her 12-year-old friend Kathy Perez.
“It was scary,” she said. “I thought they were going to come in shooting. We were in front of the door and we heard the shooting. We saw the cracked glass and ran back into the mall.”
Perez described the gunfire as two loud bangs.
She said she and Martinez were both scared and crying as they ran towards the food court on the western side of the mall. She said they encountered the manager to the mall arcade, who took them aside and provided a phone for them to call their families.
To contain the crime scene, Tracy and California Highway Patrol officers closed all access to the eastern portion of the mall at Corral Hollow Road, as well as Ring Road that surrounds the mall property for more than an hour.
The remainder of the mall entrances stayed open throughout the police investigation, Sheneman said. The eastern portion of the mall was reopened to incoming traffic at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Sheneman said anyone with information about the shooting is being asked to contact Tracy Police Det. Alex Kalinin at 831-6636.
Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.