A distraught woman is comforted outside the food court entrance to Oakwood Mall after a fatal Christmas Eve shooting inside the Foot Locker on Dec. 24, 2014.
Michael DeMocker/Nola.com/The Times-Picayune/Landov

Christmas Eve shopper shot, killed in Louisiana’s Oakwood Center Mall

A Christmas eve shopper was shot multiple times and killed in a Louisiana mall in what appears to have been a targeted attack, officials said late Wednesday. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, Gary Francois, fled the scene on foot but was apprehended nearby.

The sheriff’s office said that the victim, James Vaughn, had just made a purchase in Foot Locker and was walking out of the store in Gretna’s Oakwood Center Mall when he was shot multiple times. “Obviously for several minutes there was bedlam within the mall because of shots ringing out it was crowded in here,” said Sheriff Newell Normand, according to NBC News affiliate WDSU.

The sheriff’s office added in a statement that “homicide investigators believe the victim was targeted,” saying that surveillance video from the mall shows the suspect standing outside the Footlocker waiting for Vaughn to complete his purchase. Once Vaughn turned away from the checkout counter, the suspect walked in with his weapon drawn and began firing, the sheriff’s office said.

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Christmas Eve shopper shot, killed in Louisiana's Oakwood Center Mall