What to Know
- Dominic Billa was gunned down early Monday evening in the food court of the Philadelphia Mils Mall.
- Billa, the stepson of a county detective assigned to District Attorney Larry Krasner's Homicide/Non-Fatal Shooting Unit, was shot as an argument escalated just after 5 p.m.
- The search for the gunman continued Tuesday.
A gunman shot and killed a young man in the crowded food court of the Philadelphia Mills Mall on Monday.
The shooting occurred inside the food court at the orange entrance of the mall on 1455 Franklin Mills Circle in Northeast Philadelphia just after 5 p.m. Police told NBC10 a fight occurred and then at least one person pulled out a gun and opened fire.
People who were inside the mall told NBC10 they heard what sounded like 20 gunshots.
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"The bullets were coming our way," Jamie Yeimnieletona, a witness, told NBC10.
A 21-year-old man was shot multiple times in the chest and pronounced dead at 5:18 p.m. He was later identified by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office as Dominic Billa, the stepson of a county detective assigned to the DA's Homicide/Non-Fatal Shooting Unit.
"I extend my deepest condolences to our Detective, and to the loved ones of Mr. Billa," District Attorney Larry Krasner said. "We are outraged over the violence that claimed the life of this young man. Shopping malls, basketball courts, supermarkets, and all spaces in our communities should be free of the threat of gun violence."
Yeimnieletona, who is pregnant, said she and her family were eating in the food court when she heard the gunfire.
"I heard like a balloon at the beginning but then they were coming back to back so we figure it was shooting so we started running and I didn't see my mom," she said. "It was crazy."
The mall was locked down as SWAT and K-9 teams searched for the suspect but no arrests were made and a weapon was not recovered. Several people were taken into custody for questioning.
"Some of these individuals are known to us but at this time there's not much more we can say," Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp told NBC10.
After about an hour of lockdown, most of the people inside were able to leave.
The shooting was just the latest in a wave of gun violence roiling Philadelphia. On Friday, seven people were shot when a gunman opened fire at a social club in the city's Fishtown neighborhood. That same day, a gunman killed an 11-year-old boy who was riding his bike in the Oxford Circle neighborhood.
Philadelphia police crime statistics showed at least 777 shootings as of the week ending March 21. There have also been 117 homicides as of March 28, up 29% from the same time last year which was ultimately one of the deadliest years in decades for Philadelphia.
Philadelphia city leaders took part in City Council Special Committee hearing Tuesday aimed at curbing gun violence in the city.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.