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Christmas Eve Horror as Man is Killed In Louisiana Mall

December 25, 2014  |  Posted by: JammedUp
Christmas Eve Horror as Man is Killed In Louisiana Mall Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

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One person is dead and another is in custody after a Christmas Eve shooting at the Oakwood Center Mall.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office are investigating the shooting that happened shortly before 4:30 p.m. — two hours before the mall was set to close.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the JPSO confirmed that the shooting victim, identified as 24-year-old James Vaughn, had purchased something from the Foot Locker when a man walked up and began shooting.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said, “The victim finished a transaction at the cash register and turned away. He was walking away when the perpetrator walked up about 3 to 4 feet away and there were three shots fired.”

Vaughn died inside the store. The shooter, identified as 25 year-old Gary Franois of Harvey, fled the store and was seen by someone who reported his location to the authorities. They said François was seen running from the Foot locker store into a nearby ladies clothing store and then exited into the parking lot all while being pursued by officers. François was apprehended near the intersection of Cherry Blossom and Wright Avenue.

Gary Franois - Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Gary Franois – Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Witnesses and employees of the Foot Locker store were questioned by investigators.

“Clerks say they’ve seen the victim and perpetrator shop at this store before,” Normand said.

The mall was immediately evacuated of all holiday shoppers and stores were closed. Witnesses told WDSU that gunshots were heard throughout the mall.

“Obviously for several minutes there was bedlam within the mall because of shots ringing out it was crowded in here,” Normand said.

There are no reports of anyone else getting hurt.

Sheriff Office officials said François has a prior criminal history with arrests for aggravated battery, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, simple criminal damage and simple battery along with a number of traffic attachments.

They said Vaughn also had a prior criminal history with arrests for numerous counts of parole violation, illegal carrying a concealed weapon, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of cocaine, aggravated battery, resisting arrest, simple assault, aggravated criminal damage, simple battery and theft.

Homicide investigators believe the victim was targeted by the perpetrator. They said video surveillance from the store, “clearly shows François standing outside of the shoe store waiting for Vaughn to complete his sales transaction.  Once Vaughn turned away from the checkout counter, François can be seen walking into the store with his weapon drawn and immediately begin firing at the Vaughn.”

JPSO deputies were involved in a short pursuit with the shooter. He was taken into custody a few blocks away from the mall.

The mall is south of New Orleans in Gretna.

Stay with WDSU.com for more information as it becomes available.


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