Police responded to an active shooter situation at the Westgate Entertainment District shopping center in Glendale, Arizona, at 7:25 p.m. local time on Wednesday. Shortly after arriving at the scene, Glendale Police shared an update on the situation, tweeting: “There are no more reports of any active shooting. One suspect is in custody. We are shutting down the Westgate area to ensure everyone is safe.”
Arizona State Senator Martin Quezada was at the Westgate Entertainment District, which is one of the Valley’s most popular destinations, at the time of the incident. The Arizona senator tweeted, “I just witnessed an armed terrorist with an AR-15 shoot up Westgate. There are multiple victims.”
Quezada, who’s served in the state senate representing District 29 since 2015, said in a second tweet, “I saw 2 victims with my own eyes. Not sure how many others I saw the shooter. Being told not to say anything else about details ’til I speak to police. I’m ok. Lots of shaken up people.”
I just witnessed an armed terrorist with an AR-15 shoot up Westgate. There are multiple victims.
— Sen. Martín Quezada (@SenQuezada29) May 21, 2020
The Westgate Entertainment District is located at 6571 North Sunset Boulevard. Glendale Police issued a statement on Twitter, saying, “Please stay out of the #Westgate area.” There were three reported gunshot victims with one person in critical condition, KTAR News reported.
Here’s what you need to know about the Westgate shooting:
1. A Video Purporting to Have Been Posted on Snapchat by the Shooter Was Shared On Social Media
A disturbing video shared on social media under the Snapchat handle Arizona Man was shared on May 20 by a man who said his name was Armando Junior Hernandez. After flashing video of a long gun, he said from the seat in his vehicle, “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.”
After putting on a camo face mask, the video then shows the shooter firing off rounds off shots while entering the Westage Entertainment District. Suddenly, the video cuts to a woman lying down by the front left wheel of her car, possibly injured, and the shooter said, “Society is bull****.”
The woman pleads in response, “I have nothing to do with that!” and “You already shot me, dude!”
Police have not confirmed the authenticity of the video. The video was shared on Twitter but has been removed for violating Twitter rules, according to the site. The video can still be viewed elsewhere online. WARNING: The video may be disturbing for some viewers.
2. The Suspect Was Taken Into Custody Alive
— JOE DANA (@JoeDanaReports) May 21, 2020
During the first press briefing following the shooting, Glendale Police said they arrested the suspect inside the Westgate area and brought him into custody for questioning.
A witness, Juan Lopez, told 12 News reporter Joe Dana that he saw a short guy walking with a rifle in the middle of Westgate. “He let two shots off and then he was walking, and then when he hit the corner, he just started running.”
Lopez added that it was hard to tell if the suspect was looking for more people to shoot while he ran away.
3. Video from the Westgate Entertainment District Shows People Running In Fear [WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE]
Live footage of the Westgate shooting. 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/ndAmoAE0LE
— SAVE LIVES ➡️ UBI NOW 😷 (@InsideASCIF) May 21, 2020
A Westgate mall employee working at the time of the shooting described the situation on Twitter, saying, “I’m here at work with a coworker hiding in the back of our studio. If anyone sees anything going on in the news PLEASE let me know! Hoping to get through all of this.”
The Westgate Entertainment District was bought by GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons in 2018. Amber Liptai, a spokeswoman for Parsons’ parent company BIG YAM, released the following statement: “We are deeply troubled by this incident and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Westgate will continue to work closely with the Glendale Police Department and in-house security to best ensure the safety of our customers, tenants, and residents.”
4. Police Will Conduct a Secondary Search of the Westgate Area
Glendale police update on Westgate shooting https://t.co/dWl0f2v2ue
— Andrew Oxford (@andrewboxford) May 21, 2020
During a press briefing, Officer Tiffany Ngalula of the Glendale Police announced that police would be doing a full second search of Westgate Entertainment District. Authorities want to ensure the safety of the area and make sure there aren’t more injured persons that need assistance.
Police said there were three victims so far. One remained in critical condition and was transported to a local hospital. “We don’t have any reports that anyone has passed,” Ngalula said.
5. Arizona’s Stay at Home Order Expired On May 15
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey officially allowed the state’s stay-at-home order to expire May 15 amid the COVID-19 outbreak which is why the Westgate Entertainment District was open and filled with customers. Hair salons, nail salons, restaurants and non-essential businesses were allowed to resume operations and sell items in-store.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Ducey announced that the state’s reopening was going incredibly smooth and that he looks forward to soon reopening summer camps, schools and youth activities.
Following the shooting on Wednesday night, Ducey tweeted that his office was monitoring the situation closely and the state is ready to assist as necessary.