DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- A suspect and a security guard were shot during an attempted robbery at a shopping mall Monday, while a lunchtime crowd ducked for cover, officials and witnesses said.
The guard's injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, said Bill Ball, general manager of the Arbor Place Mall. Police said the suspect's wounds were more severe.
The events unfolded while a Brinks guard was entering the mall to service some of the ATM machines, Ball said.
Douglasville Police Chief Joe Whisenant said it happened a few minutes after noon.
He said the security guard was inside on the second floor when the would-be robber approached and put a gun to the guard's head. They scuffled and both men fired, with the guard hit in the leg and the suspect in the mouth, Whisenant said.
Both men were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. The suspect underwent emergency surgery Monday afternoon, the chief said.
Neither man's identity was immediately released. Whisenant said the suspect is 41 years old and from DeKalb County on Atlanta's eastern side.
He also said that money, the apparent target of the robbery, was recovered.
A witness, Denise Shipp of Douglasville, said she was eating lunch in the mall's food court with her husband Jon when they heard gunshots. She said her husband saw the guard tackle the suspect and hold him on ground.
She said people in the food court were diving under tables, holding up chairs and hiding behind partition walls.
A bullet hole was visible in a window over the mall's front entrance -- its apparent trajectory from the shooting scene passing directly above the food court and an indoor playground.
Mall officials were unsure if any children were on the playground when the shooting happened, but eyewitnesses said they saw parents grabbing children from the playground and running away.
Another bullet tore through a laminated sign at the Auntie Anne's pretzel stand, narrowly missing employee Catrina Lemley and manager Sharon Wilson.
"I was fixing a Coke for a customer. I heard gunshots and I saw pieces of the sign flying out. My manager told me to get down," said Lemley, 19, who is eight months pregnant. "It was scary."
Diana Shasta, 30, manager of Friedman's Marketing Services, was in the food court with a couple of coworkers near the crime scene.
"It was pop, pop, pop, pop, and then you knew," Shasta said.
She said she saw people running from the food court "with terror on their faces."
"I've never been so frightened in my life," she said. "Everybody was running for their lives, grabbing their babies, pulling their friends."
Douglasville police put the mall under lockdown, not letting anyone in or out, for a brief period during the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
The mall manager told The Associated Press that a second suspect was arrested. But Whisenant said the wounded man is the only known suspect in the case.
By mid-afternoon, yellow crime scene tape still surrounded the Brinks truck, which remained outside the mall entrance, but traffic was being allowed in and out of mall freely. The mall's sound system was playing Christmas tunes.
Douglasville police did not immediately return a call for comment from The Associated Press.
Douglasville is 21 miles west of Atlanta.
Too bad the guard got shot, but it seems that the BG got the worst of it.