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UPDATE: New River Valley Mall shooting suspect bought 12-gauge shotgun legally

By WDBJ7 Web Staff
Published On: Apr 12 2013 10:59:25 AM EDT
Updated On: Apr 15 2013 06:54:54 PM EDT
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. -

Neil MacInnis, the teenager accused of opening fire Friday at the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg, was taken into custody with a 12-gauge shotgun that he legally purchased two days before the shooting, investigators say.

MacInnis wounded two women inside New River Community College’s satellite campus, which is inside the mall.

MacInnis’ shotgun was bought legally on Wednesday from a licensed dealer in the New River Valley. Nine spent shell casings were recovered inside New River Community College. Three different types of ammunition were found – bird shot, buck shot, and slugs. Click here to see the search warrant.

Investigators have not found a relationship between MacInnis and the two victims. The Christiansburg Police Department believes the two victims just happened to be in the lobby when MacInnis entered the building. One of the victims was a part-time employee at New River Community College, and the other was a student.

 The off-duty mall security guard who was the first to confront MacInnis has been identified as James Gorman. Gorman is credited with ordering MacInnis to drop his weapon and to get on the ground. Gorman then held MacInnis on the ground until two Christiansburg police officers arrived moments later, and took him into custody.

Gorman is employed by AlliedBarton, and is chief of security at the New River Valley Mall.  AlliedBarton is contracted to provide security at the New River Valley Mall.

It’s still not clear what MacInnis’ motive was. During his interview with detectives he said that he “was having a bad week.”

MacInnis, who was appointed a public defender in court Monday, is being held in the Montgomery County Jail without bond. He is charged with two counts of malicious wounding, and two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony.

MacInnis has been charged with malicious wounding instead of attempted murder because under Virginia law, the penalties for malicious wounding are more severe than for attempted murder, according to the Christiansburg Police Department.

MacInnis completed the Christiansburg Police Department Citizens Academy program in 2012. It’s a 12-week course that has been around since 1995. The course gives citizens an overview about a typical day as a police officer.

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Noon Monday update: New River Valley Mall shooting suspect Neil MacInnis appeared in Montgomery County General District Court on Monday morning.

MacInnis is charged with two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, and two counts of malicious wounding. Investigators say MacInnis opened fire Friday afternoon at the Christiansburg mall, wounding two women.

In court Monday, MacInnis was appointed a public defender. His preliminary hearing was also set for 2:30 p.m. June 18. MacInnis did not enter a plea.

The judge asked MacInnis if he understood the charges against him, and he said yes.

One of the shooting victims was a New River Community College employee, and the other was a New River Community College student.

MacInnis wore a jail-issued orange jump suit during his appearance. Several of his family members gasped when he entered the courtroom, according to WDBJ7's Orlando Salinas.

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The man accused of shooting two people at the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg on Friday is expected to appear in court Monday morning.

An arraignment is scheduled for Neil MacInnis at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Montgomery County General District Court in Christiansburg.

MacInnis is accused of shooting a New River Community College part-time employee and student on Friday.

He was arrested shortly after the shooting. At last check, both victims are in stable condition at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

MacInnis is charged with two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, and two counts of malicious wounding.

WDBJ7 will be at the hearing.

Check back soon for more updates.

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From the Associated Press

The uncle of a man charged with shooting two women at a community college in Virginia says the suspect's family is stunned and devastated.

Stewart MacInnis tells The Associated Press that Neil Allan MacInnis' family also is concerned about the victims and their families.

His 18-year-old nephew is being held at the Montgomery County Jail on two counts each of malicious wounding and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Police say Neil MacInnis is accused of shooting the women Friday at a satellite campus of New River Community College at a mall in Christiansburg. Police aren't releasing the victims' names.

Stewart MacInnis says the shootings also affected students, faculty and staff at the college. He says the family's thoughts are with them, as well.

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From The Associated Press

A student who hid from a gunman as he shot two women at a southwest Virginia community college says he attempted to lure more students out of hiding by pretending he was a police officer.

Clara Keller told The Roanoke Times that she didn't take the bait and waited with four friends under a desk until the shootings ended Friday at New River Community College's satellite campus in Christiansburg.

Police have identified the shooter as 18-year-old Neil Allan MacInnis, a student at the college.

He is charged with two counts of malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. It is unclear whether he has an attorney.

The conditions of the two women injured in the shooting were not immediately available Saturday.

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SUNDAY UPDATE: New River Community College classes at all locations will be cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, April 15 and 16.

Offices will remain open.  Counseling services will available Sunday, April 14, at NRCC in Dublin from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and at both Dublin and the college's New River Valley Mall site on Monday and Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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A New River Community College student says he heard the gunman's shots being fired as he sat in class.

Brandon Robinson says he was in his calculus class on Friday afternoon inside of the New River Valley Mall.

“First it didn't really register as a shot. It sounded more like someone dropping books very loudly,” said Robinson.

Robinson soon realized it wasn't books but bullets he’d heard. He says he went into safety mode. Initially Robinson went to the back of the classroom with his peers, but noticed that his teacher was alone at the front of the class. He stood up to see if anyone needed help.

“I thought in protocol you should turn off the lights and make it a dark room,” said Robinson.

He says his teacher had locked the doors. He decided to crouch down in front of the doors with his teacher. He would push back if the suspect were to try to force his way in.

“When all that runs through your head, the adrenaline is crazy. I was very nervous, very shaky with the amount of adrenaline,” said Robinson.

 Robinson says it’s still hard to wrap his head around the shooting outside his classroom door.

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The second victim from Friday's shooting has been identified as a student at New River Community College.

The delay in identifying her connection to the college was due to a misspelling in her name.

Both victims are reported to be in stable condition at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. 

The identities of both victims and further information on their conditions will not be released to protect their privacy.    

The investigation is ongoing.

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The suspect accused of opening fire and injuring two women Friday at the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg has been identified by investigators.

18-year-old Neil Allen MacInnis of Christiansburg has been charged with two counts of malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm while committing a felony. MacInnis is enrolled as a New River Community College student. The shooting took place at New River Community College's satellite location inside the mall.

About five minutes after the shooting, MacInnis was subdued by an off-duty security guard and two Christiansburg police officers.

Police are investigating whether or not an internet post about a shooting was made by MacInnis. Click here to see the post in question.

MacInnis completed the Christiansburg Citizen Police Academy in 2012, according to Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson. MacInnis is being held in the Montgomery County Jail without bond.

 “Today has been a very tough day,” Sisson said. “Today has been a very tough day for law enforcement officers involved. It’s been a very tough day for the victims and their families. It’s been a very tough day for the suspect’s families.”

Sisson said investigators are trying to figure out the relationship between MacInnis and the victims.  Both victims are now being treated at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. One was originally airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. The other victim was taken by ambulance to LewisGale Hospital at Montgomery.

One of the victims was a part-time employee at New River Community College. It's not clear if the other victim had a relationship to the school.

An official tells WDBJ7 that when police came, MacInnis dropped his gun and told police "Come get me."  The official also said one of the two injured women was shot through a window and had cuts to her face, and was hit in the hand.

Family members we spoke to are in disbelief, and said they couldn't imagine MaCInnis with a gun. Neighbors tell WDBJ7 that MacInnis lived in Christiansburg with his parents. They said they were stunned to hear that MacInnis was involved with the shooting.

"My fiancée’s brother had just left there taking classes over there like an hour-and-a-half ago before it happened,” Steven Addison of Christiansburg said. “You have to watch where you go.  It could happen anywhere, anytime.  It's scary."

Investigators say MacInnis drove to the New River Valley Mall around 1:55 p.m. Friday afternoon. MacInnis got out of his car with a gun and walked into the mall, and then opened fire. He was in custody five minutes later. WDBJ7 verified two pictures of MacInnis being taken into custody. Click here to see the pictures, which were shared by WDBJ7 viewer Amanda Taylor. 

10 p.m. update on shooting at New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg

Search warrants have been conducted at several locations potentially linked to MacInnis, according to a news release.

According to New River Valley Mall Manager Mike Poldiak, the mall will re-open at noon Saturday.

Montgomery County schools were briefly locked down, but that lockdown was lifted shortly after the suspect was placed in custody.

WDBJ7 spoke with a man who works inside the mall, but didn't make it inside for work Friday.

“When I got to the mall I saw all the commotion and I called my boss, she told me not to come in,” Josiah Munger said.

Munger has a friend who was in class inside the school.

The friend said he heard four shots from what sounded like a shotgun. Investigators have not released what type of weapon was used. 

 

8 p.m. news conference about Christiansburg mall shooting

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A suspect is in custody following a shooting that injured two women Friday at the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg.

One of the victims was taken to LewisGale Hospital at Montgomery, and the other was airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Investigators have not released the shooting suspect’s identity, but they have confirmed that the suspect is an adult man. WDBJ7 has confirmed two pictures of the suspect being taken into custody. Click here to see the pictures.

An official tells WDBJ7 that when police came, the shooting suspect dropped his gun and told police "Come get me." The suspect is still being interviewed by Christiansburg police, and has not been charged yet.

6 P.M. UPDATE: New details about shooting at NRV Mall in Christiansburg

The official also said one of the two injured women was shot through a window and had cuts to her face, and was hit in the hand.

Investigators are holding a news conference at 8 p.m. about the shooting. WDBJ7 is planning on live streaming the news conference.

The New River Valley Mall was evacuated after the shootings and remains closed. The mall released the following statement at 6 p.m. about the shootings
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this senseless act, as well as their families. The investigation into what happened is being coordinated by the Christiansburg Police Department, and we are cooperating fully with the police.  Like everyone in our community, we are relieved to learn that a suspect is in custody.

The mall will be closed for the balance of today, and we expect to have an announcement at a later time regarding when it will reopen.  We also expect to soon have a team at the scene to provide counseling and emotional support to tenants and employees as needed, to help the individuals cope with the effects of this tragedy in the difficult time.”

The first call about the shootings came into the Christiansburg 911 Dispatch Center around 1:55 p.m. The call came in as a person with a gun at New River Community College’s satellite location, which is inside the New River Valley Mall. The caller said they heard shots fired.

Officers were on scene at 2 p.m. The suspect was taken into custody a short time later.

 “At this time we do not believe there is any continuing threat to the community at large,” Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson said during a 3 p.m. news conference.

Montgomery County schools were briefly locked down, but that lockdown was lifted shortly after the suspect was placed in custody.

Witnesses tell WDBJ7 that the gunman jumped out of a white car and entered New River Valley Mall through a side entrance.

WDBJ7 spoke with a man who works inside the mall, but didn't make it inside for work Friday.

“When I got to the mall I saw all the commotion and I called my boss, she told me not to come in,” Josiah Munger said.

Munger has a friend who was in class inside the school.

The friend said he heard four shots from what sounded like a shotgun, but we have not confirmed any of that as police are still continuing their investigation inside the mall.

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An official tells WDBJ7 that when police came, the shooting suspect dropped his gun and told police "Come get me."

The official also said one of the two injured women was shot through a window and had cuts to her face and was hit in the hand.

Investigators are holding a news conference at 8 p.m. WDBJ7 is planning on live streaming the news conference.

Here is a statement from New River Valley Mall about the shootings:

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this senseless act, as well as their families. The investigation into what happened is being coordinated by the Christiansburg Police Department, and we are cooperating fully with the police.  Like everyone in our community, we are relieved to learn that a suspect is in custody.
 
The mall will be closed for the balance of today, and we expect to have an announcement at a later time regarding when it will reopen.  We also expect to soon have a team at the scene to provide counseling and emotional support to tenants and employees as needed, to help the individuals cope with the effects of this tragedy in the difficult time.

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5:40 p.m. update: The New River Valley Mall is still being cleared by law enforcement.

The suspect, an adult male, is being interviewed by the Christiansburg Police Department.

He has not been charged yet.

New River Community College has canceled classes for the remainder of Friday and Saturday. They are providing counseling.

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5 P.M. UPDATE: Two women hurt in shooting at Christiansburg mall

4:41 p.m. update: A suspect is in custody following a shooting that injured two women Friday at the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg.

One woman was airlifted to the hospital, the other woman was taken by ambulance to the hospital. One of the victims is at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, and the other is in stable condition at LewisGale Hospital Montgomery.

The suspect’s name has not been released.

The call came into the Christiansburg 911 Dispatch Center around 1:55 p.m. The call came in as a person with a gun at New River Community College satellite location inside the mall. The caller reported hearing shots fired.

Officers were on scene at 2 p.m. The suspect was taken into custody a short time later.

The mall was evacuated and remains closed.

“At this time we do not believe there is any continuing threat to the community at large,”  Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson said during a 3 p.m. news conference.

Montgomery County schools were briefly locked down, but that lockdown was lifted shortly after the suspect was placed in custody.

Witnesses tell WDBJ7 that the gunman jumped out of a white car and entered New River Valley Mall through a side entrance.

WDBJ7 spoke with a man who works inside the mall, but didn't make it inside for work Friday.

“When I got to the mall I saw all the commotion and I called my boss, she told me not to come in,” Josiah Munger said.

Munger has a friend who was in class inside the school.

The friend said he heard four shots from what sounded like a shotgun, but we have not confirmed any of that as police are still continuing their investigation inside the mall.

 

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News conference about shooting at NRV Mall

Christiansburg public information officer Becky Wilburn will be giving a statement at 3 p.m.

Traffic on Peppers Ferry Road is backed up.

One person has been airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, and another person has been airlifted to LewisGale Hospital Montgomery. That person is in stable condition.

New River Valley Community College is closed for the rest of the day. All activities in around New River Valley Mall have been suspended.

Store employees report hearing loud noises inside the mall. According to a WDBJ7 photographer, four ambulances and around 50 people are near the New River Community College entrance.

Check back soon for more updates.

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Right now we're following breaking news about reports of a shooting at the New River Valley Mall.

According to security, a shooting suspect has been taken into custody.

We're told it happened near the New River Community College facility at the mall in Christiansburg.

We've contacted a number of stores near the college center at the mall.

They confirm that businesses are locked down and at least one employee reports hearing gunshots.

Any injuries are unknown at this time.

Check back soon for more updates.