Greenville police talk mall safety measures following shooting

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Greenville police want people to feel safe while shopping in the city after two men were shot inside Greenville Mall Friday. Today WITN talked to Chief Ted Sauls about the investigation as well as shoppers about how they feel when heading out to stores.

“I’ve been in that mall many times over the years,” said shopper Jerry Rhodes. He, like many others, was surprised to hear two people were shot at the Greenville Mall Friday. “I can’t recall there were any times when there were any significant issue there,” he said.

Police said 19-year-old De’quazious Isaiah Pollard of Winslow Pointe Drive is in custody and facing charges for what happened.

As shoppers continue to head out for the holiday season, Rhodes said he’ll apply the same method he always does.

“Just be aware of your surroundings and if anything looks unusual or out of place,” he said.

That’s advice Tiffany Freeman is also taking to heart.

“I try to stay aware of my surroundings, so like if anything does happen I can, you know, if I have to, do what I gotta do,” she said, adding that she has a concealed carry permit and carries a gun as often as she can to feel protected. Freeman feels it could help to add extra security measures to monitor what people bring into the mall.

“Why [aren’t] there metal detectors at the main entrances of the mall to keep people from going in with their guns?” she said.

That’s one of the many possibilities Greenville Police Chief Ted Sauls said they will be considering.

“It’s important that the management at any big box retailer like a Walmart, Best Buy, mall, that they take every action to ensure that their visitors are safe. That can include a lot of things,” he said. “Lighting, lots of good lighting – cameras, armed security, private armed security.”

He added that metal detectors may have an undesired effect on visitors.

“The introduction of metal detectors at a retail establishment, it may prevent weapons being brought in, but how does it present to the shopper? Are people going to want to shop anywhere where they have to go through that hassle?” he said.

A gun was recovered from Pollard’s home. Sauls said he could not reveal if that gun was purchased legally or if it was the same gun used in the shooting. He said those details could become available later in the investigation. His big message to shoppers is that his department is working on solutions.

“We know what’s occurred, and there’s no way to rewind the clock on that,” he said. “So let’s move forward and see what we can do.”

Police will be focusing more patrols in shopping areas during busy hours in response to the shooting as well.

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