CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man was arrested Thursday in connection to a shots fired incident at Northlake Mall that led to a heavy emergency response on Labor Day.
Antonio Lamont Gaines, 27, is charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Officials said Gaines and the intended victim knew one another, and that the shooting was a result of an earlier altercation.
Gaines was arrested at a home on the 6200 block of Pine Street. Officers said a loaded handgun was found next to him, and that an additional handgun and rifle ammunition were also found inside the home.
The incident happened around 3:15 p.m. Emergency crews responded and the mall was partially evacuated before police determined the shots were fired outside and that there were no victims.
CMPD discussed the arrest Friday morning, crediting teamwork and witness testimony in the arrest. Captain Ryan Butler confirmed that the violence is not connected to other violence in the past, specifically the fatal Christmas Eve shooting at the mall.
"This has nothing to do with that incident or any previous incident," said Butler. "Anytime you go to a public place and let people in there is opportunity for an incident to occur."
Late Tuesday afternoon, the management of North Lake Mall issued a statement regarding security.
"The safety of our guests, tenants and employees is our top priority. We work closely with our partners in local, state and federal law enforcement to monitor events in the surrounding neighborhood," the statement read. "The mall, it tenants and area businesses also take part in ongoing training for a variety of incidents. If one occurs, we respond with local authorities following procedures that are designed for the safety of our guests, tenants and employees."
The statement concluded, "While our security plans are not publicized, teams are onsite 24/7. We have implemented additional measures, some of which are visible and others that are behind the scenes."
As for CMPD they believe their patrol of that area is already solid.
"We have a foot patrol officer assigned to the mall. We have duel sports, that are basically dirt bikes on a full time basis in the north division," said Butler.
Concerns have been raised by several mall employees about lack of training for emergencies.
"I would say I am surprised. We have had two active survival seminars with the employees of Northlake mall. Before this incident happened we had a third seminar set up," said Butler.
Captain Butler went on to say that they are open to train any employees that reach out to them.
Anyone with any further information about the incident is asked to call 911, or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.