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“Hello, I’m going to be the shooter of Westgate 2020. This is to get back at mean society. So let’s get this done.”
That is how the man suspected of shooting and injuring three people at the Westgate Entertainment District, a shopping mall in Glendale, Arizona, informed his Snapchat followers of what he was about to do.
The police took the man into custody shortly after the shooting, and while they have not formally identified him, his mother has confirmed his identity to local media as Armando "Junior" Hernandez, a 20-year-old from Glendale.
The three people injured in the shooting were taken to a local hospital, where one of them remains in a critical condition.
Emergency services were first alerted to the incident at 7:25 p.m. local time on Wednesday as shoppers and diners were enjoying one of the first nights that stores and restaurants were open again after weeks of lockdown due to the coronavirus.
The shooter’s Snapchat video was shared on social media after the incident and shows him driving with an unidentified semi-automatic rifle in the back seat of the car.
It then shows him in the parking lot and putting on a camouflage mask, and then inside the shopping mall firing the weapon apparently indiscriminately.
In the most disturbing part of the video, an injured woman lies on the ground in the parking lot pleading with the shooter, who responds by saying: “Society is bullshit.”
The woman then says: “I have nothing to do with that. You already shot me, dude!”
The video, reviewed by VICE News, was initially shared widely on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, but most copies have since been removed — although some still remain on those platforms.
Snapchat did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident.
CCTV footage shows the moment the suspect surrendered to the police, dropping to his knees as a police vehicle approaches.
The incident Wednesday was one of the first mass shootings to occur since the country started reopening after weeks of lockdown.
The nationwide closure of public spaces like churches, malls, schools, and parks due to COVID-19 led to a 24% drop in mass shootings in April compared to a year earlier.
Cover: Fountains spray outside the Westgate City Center in Glendale, Ariz. on Dec. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FILE)