Two Goshen residents injured after shot fired in Galleria mall Unconfirmed news reports say the suspect turned himself in
Surveillance cameras caught the suspects accompanied by two small children (Photo provided)
BY ERIKA NORTON MIDDLETOWN — Police say a man fired a gun inside the busy Galleria at Crystal Run on Sunday afternoon, leaving two Goshen residents injured and prompting a lockdown and evacuation. Town of Wallkill police say a male in a dark jacket and khaki pants discharged one round from a handgun into the floor on the second level of the mall in front of the American Eagle store. Police have not determined whether the shot was accidental or intentional. The victims — a 49-year-old mother and her 12-year-old — suffered minor leg wounds from either bullet fragments or shattered floor tile as a result of the gunshot. They were transported to Orange Regional Medical Center, where they were both treated and released. Police are continuing to search for the suspect and released surveillance video of the man, who was in the company of a woman and two small children. The Chronicle has been unable to confirm reports from other new media, with vague references to "police sources," that the suspect turned himself in to Monticello police Tuesday night. No charges were announced as of Wednesday morning. A news conference was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, as this paper goes to press. Police say the male suspect is white or Hispanic, 6 feet, 2 inches tall, with dark hair, a beard and mustache, and wearing a dark jacket and khaki pants. The female person of interest is white or Hispanic, 5 feet four inches tall, with blonde hair, and wearing a dark jacket and maroon pants. Both were in the company of two small children, an infant and a child about three years old. Released surveillance footage shows the man, woman, and children entering the mall, and then shortly after the incident walking through the mall and quickly exiting near the Fuji Japanese Steakhouse. Chaos Upon arriving at the mall filled with post-Thanksgiving holiday shoppers, police immediately put the mall on lockdown. They evacuated customers and searched the stores twice to ensure there were no other victims, and that all customers and employees had left the area. Florida, N.Y., resident Hayley Coriaty was in the mall with her mom and little sister at the time of the shooting. They had a free hour before the movie they planned to see started, so they went to the new Round 1 bowling alley and arcade to play some games. “We only got two games in and, all of a sudden, we saw a herd of people with faces terrified, running,” Coriaty said. “So our immediate reaction was, run.” She said they didn’t hear what had happened because they were in the noisy arcade. They saw people running in all different directions, so didn’t know which way to go. Then they spotted a door opening at the Custom T’s tee-shirt store. The manager held the door open and was looking around. Coriaty, her mom, and her little sister ran into the store, the last three people to get into the extremely small room where 20 to 25 others were also hiding. “Somebody in the room said we think it’s a shooter out there," she said. "My heart dropped. The unknown is the worst feeling and not having control of the situation is horrifying.” Coriaty, her family, and the others — which included young children — hid for about 40 minutes before SWAT team members arrived to escort them out of the mall. She said the SWAt team was still on high alert since the shooter had not been found. They were breaking down every door to make sure everyone had gotten out, she said. When they got outside, they ran to their parked car, which was at the complete opposite end of the mall, and drove away. “It was definitely not an situation I ever want to experience again, ever,” she said. Coriaty also said she wants to thank the manager of the Custom T’s store for staying calm and helping them hide. Investigation continuesThe investigation into the incident is being conducted by Town of Wallkill Detectives with assistance from the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI. Anyone with information or video or still photos capturing this incident is asked to contact Town of Wallkill Police Department Detectives at 692-6757. It is legal for a person with a permit to bring a registered gun into the mall, according to Wallkill Chief of Police Hertman and State Police Trooper Steven Nevel, But according to the Galleria at Crystal Run website, the mall has a “no weapons allowed” policy.