October 9, 2008

Tennessee Mall Shooter in Custody

A 42-year-old man was in custody Wednesday, charged with killing one person and engaging in a gun battle with police at a Knoxville, Tenn., shopping mall.

William Johnson of Knoxville was charged with murder in the slaying of a clothing store employee at the Knoxville Center mall, the Knoxville New Sentinel reported. He was being treated at the University of Tennessee Medical Center gunshot wounds, the newspaper said. He was expected to survive.

Hundreds of shoppers were reported to have fled the mall and sought safety in the mall's shops when gunfire erupted at about 4:20 p.m Wednesday. Killed was Ahmed Nahl, 29, a native of Egypt, who worked at Reno Men's Wear, police said.

Johnson then allegedly fired at city police Sgt. Darrell Griffin and Officer Tyler Wylie when they arrived at the store's entrance. The officers returned fire, eventually hitting Johnson in one of his legs and an arm, police said.

It wasn't known why Johnson began shooting but it appeared there had been an altercation between Nahl and the suspect, police said.

The two officers involved in the gun battle were put on administrative leave with pay and the mall was shut down for the remainder of the day.