Federal, state and local police descended on North Star Mall Tuesday afternoon, searching the area for a gunman authorities suspect of shooting a Spring Branch mail carrier this past weekend.
The manhunt at North Star, which reportedly caused a few stores to briefly go on lockdown, started when officials tried to arrest the suspect at a Jim's restaurant at Broadway and 410. Authorities claim the suspect, who they have yet to publicly identify, attacked a Spring Branch mail carrier this past Saturday morning, shooting her in the leg and stealing some mail and her personal car, which she used to deliver the mail.
According to the Express-News,
the suspect fired on officers before he "and his companions" fled to North Star Mall's covered parking garage to avoid the police helicopters swarming overhead. Officers left without a suspect after searching for several hours. The San Antonio Police Department, in a statement, would only say that it was "assisting" federal agencies with an "incident" at the mall. As the E-N notes
, the other agencies involved were similarly unforthcoming:
Postal Inspection Service spokesman Michael Martinez-Partida told the San Antonio Express-News that he would “absolutely not” answer questions Tuesday, then hung up on a reporter. Numerous follow-up calls and a text to his cell phone went unanswered.
DPS Lt. Jason Reyes said his agency had been assisting postal inspectors and San Antonio police with the investigation. He referred media questions to those agencies. Similarly, a San Antonio Police Department spokeswoman said her agency had been assisting federal agents and deflected questions to them.
The incident marks the fourth gun scare at a San Antonio mall in less than four weeks:
- On Friday, January 20, police say three armed suspects robbed the Exotic Diamonds store at South Park Mall
- Then two days later, at Rolling Oaks Mall, two men attempted to rob a Kay's Jeweler. Police say a pair of bystanders tried to stop the robbers as they left the store. One of them, 42-year-old Jonathan Murphy, was shot and killed by suspect Jason Prieto, while the other "good Samaritan" — who police say had a concealed carry license — shot and wounded the other suspect.
- And then on January 24, this time at Ingram Park Mall, another alarming scene, reportedly involving a gun. According to police, two unknown suspects pulled up to a couple of women in the parking lot, pointed guns at them and said, "We're going to kill you," before the women ran and called 911. Witnesses reportedly heard gunshots
as their car drove away.