HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - An argument inside the Riverchase Galleria on July 3 ended in a shootout that killed an 8-year-old boy and injured 3 others, according to Hoover Police.
Police say there was a verbal altercation between a group of males on the first level of the mall, near the food court Friday afternoon. During the argument, a suspect, identified as 22-year-old Montez Moses Miracle Coleman, pulled a handgun out of a backpack and began shooting. Several of the other males also had handguns and began returning fire. According to police, at least three different guns were fired.
“All we can say is thank God more people weren’t hurt because those bullets were flying through that mall. It’s incredible that more weren’t hurt,” said Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis during a press conference.
Police say they believe no one involved in the initial argument was injured and all four of the victims harmed were innocent bystanders.
“A child died because people chose to settle a verbal argument by firing guns at each other in a crowded mall,” Chief Derzis said.
According to Hoover Police, 8-year-old Royta Giles was pronounced dead shortly after being transported to Children’s Hospital.
Also injured in the shooting was an adult male, an adult female and a juvenile female. Each was transported to local a hospital where they were treated and released the same night.
22-year-old Montez Moses Miracle Coleman was apprehended shortly after the shooting, after police were notified of a male with a gun, running through the parking deck of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Coleman was arrested and charged with capital murder and 3 counts of assault in the 2nd degree. He is being held without bond.
Police are also searching for 5 other individuals who they believe were involved in the shooting. If you recognize any of the people pictured below, you’re asked to call Sergeant Matthew Savage at 205-739-6780. If you wish to remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward, you are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama at 205-254-7777.
The shooting took place shortly after 3:00 pm Friday afternoon. Witnesses report hearing a “loud boom” followed by several gunshots. Many were able to evacuate the mall as police quickly arrived.
Hoover PD released the following statement shortly before 5:00 pm Friday evening
This afternoon at 3:18 p.m., the Hoover 911 Center received multiple calls of shots fired inside the Riverchase Galleria near the food court. Officers, detectives and crime scene investigators are on the scene and are beginning the process of interviewing victims and witnesses and collecting evidence.
We don’t know at this point what led to the shooting or how many gunmen were involved. We can confirm that there are at least four victims who have been transported to local hospitals. Their conditions are unknown at this time. The mall has been evacuated and the scene is secure. The media is being asked to stage in the parking lot of the old Sears building. Updates will be given as more information becomes available.
“Detectives are continuing their efforts to collect evidence identifying possible suspects. We’re currently following up on some very good leads and I can tell you that we’re already making progress,” said Chief Nicholas C. Derzis during a press conference around 9:00 p.m.
Officers are asking anyone who saw anything to call them at Hoover Police: 205-822-5300, or Sgt. Daniel Lowe 205-739-6762, or Sgt. Savage 205-739-6780 or Crime Stoppers of Central Alabama 205-254-7777.
This is a still shot of a shell casing one man said was on the floor right after the shooting. He gave us permission to share the picture from his video.
A witness said her friend told her a man was shooting and he said, “clear this out!” during the shooting.
Another witness was trying on clothes in a dressing room when she said she heard shots.
We spoke with a woman who was working at the Galleria when she heard shots.
UAB confirmed Friday night they are treating two people injured in the shooting.
Statement from the Riverchase Galleria:
We are heartbroken by the tragic, senseless incident that took place in our shopping center this afternoon.
Riverchase Galleria was evacuated immediately and will remain closed while the Hoover Police Department conducts their investigation. There is no additional information available at this time and ask that all questions be directed to the Hoover Police Department.
The shopping center will remain closed tomorrow, July 4.