SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The manager of a Savannah shopping mall blamed a botched Craigslist sale for gunfire that erupted Thursday just outside the mall's food court.
No one was injured by the single bullet fired over the back parking lot of the Savannah Mall, where general manager Philip McConnell said the shooter stood near an entrance marked with a "no weapons" sign. He said the armed man had come to the food court to finalize the sale of a computer that he had negotiated online.
"This is a Craigslist deal that just went wrong," McConnell said. Police later confirmed his account.
Savannah-Chatham County police spokeswoman Eunicia Baker said Nicholas Rivera, 28, told officers he fired a "warning shot" after someone tried to rob him.
The mall manager said the shooter told police and mall security that he had brought his computer to the mall to meet a buyer, who ended up grabbing the machine without paying and running toward the parking lot. The seller went after him, McConnell said, and drew a handgun from his pants pocket.
The thief dropped the laptop after hearing the gunshot. Baker said he got into a car and fled.
Police were still searching for the foiled robber Thursday evening. Baker said it was too early to know whether the shooter might face any charges.
McConnell pointed to a man in a white T-shirt and ball cap standing with officers outside the mall as the person who fired the gunshot.
He was cleaning his hands with a wet wipe a few feet from a police officer packing up her evidence kit when a reporter asked him what happened.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he replied.