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Illustration by Security Management

Gunman Attacks Shopping Mall in Boise

A gunmen opened fire inside a shopping mall in Boise, Idaho, on Monday afternoon. When police arrived, they spotted a suspect that matched descriptions of the shooter, and more gunfire ensued.

According to police reports, two people were killed and five people were injured, including one police officer and the suspect. The officer was treated and released; the wounded suspect was in custody and in critical condition.

As of Security Management's publication time, no name or details on the suspect have been released; however, the police have said they believe it was a person acting alone and the community did not face additional danger.

“We really cannot at this time speak to any motivation behind it, or anything else that may impact the investigation,” Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said. “It would be entirely too premature to make any of those assumptions.”

The Idaho Statesman reported that the Boise Town Square mall will be closed Tuesday.

“I want to thank the shopkeepers, the people in the mall that reacted so quickly to take care of folks that were there,” Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said. “You showed in a tough and chaotic moment how much you care and what you’re willing to do to support and care for strangers.”

The Associated Press reported that a second crime scene a quarter of a mile from the mall was also being investigated, though no further details have been released.

According to a database kept by the Gun Violence Archive, the Boise shooting is the 132nd incident in the United States this year in which at least two people were killed at a mass shooting.

A 2019 Security Management article, “Retailers Prepare for Active Assailants,” looked at the active assailant threat that retailers face. The article discussed the unique situation of retail environments, which in general do not have a major physical security measure that can hamper active assailants: access control.

With so many tenants, employees, and customers in a concentrated area, shopping centers are inherently target-rich environments, says Robert Moraca, vice president of loss prevention for the National Retail Federation (NRF). In recent years, retail centers have been the site of terrorism, workplace violence, domestic disputes, active shooters, and vehicle-borne attacks. Malls may not wish to fortify their facilities, however, especially with online shopping options luring consumers away from brick-and-mortar locations.

Preparedness and training, then, become the mainstays for retailers. Read more about how Microsoft and other retailers approach the preparedness and training aspect at their retail locations in the article.