Travion Gatling, the manager of the Lids store at the MacArthur Center, had his hands full this week. As customers leisurely trickled into the hat store Monday, Gatling was covering shifts for two employees too scared to return after witnessing Saturday’s fatal shooting.
“My employees do not feel safe,” Gatling said.
Three people were shot — and one killed — when a fight broke out Saturday inside the store. The only evidence of the fatal shooting that remained this week were a few damaged hats Gatling pulled from a bottom shelf near the entrance.
“I am not even sure how they got damaged in the shooting,” he said.
Of the two employees who witnessed Saturday’s shooting, one returned to work Wednesday. The other, Gatling said, is still too shaken up.
Officers responded to the mall in downtown Norfolk shortly before 6:30 p.m. after reports of gunfire. Three people were hit, including 33-year-old Roosevelt A. McKinney, of Norfolk, who was pronounced dead at the scene. A man and a woman were injured.
Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone told several media outlets the shooting apparently was sparked by an argument about money. Boone said that night that the victim and suspect may have been related, but detectives have since determined they are not.
Gatling was not at the store when the shooting occurred. But he described what happened based accounts by his employees. They declined requests to be interviewed by The Virginian-Pilot.
Gatling said an argument occurred among three men inside the store after one man entered and approached a customer. The two started fighting, which led a third man, who was with the customer, to fire a gun, Gatling said. The shooter was inside the store when he fired the weapon, but also was shooting outside the store, Gatling said.
On Wednesday, the Norfolk Police Department identified a Virginia Beach man as a suspect in the fatal shooting. Police said Gary L. Moore, 39, is charged with second-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding and three counts of use of a firearm.
“Gary Moore is suspected of killing a man, and injuring two others in a mall full of people,” Boone said in a statement. “Anyone who harbors this man is condoning his actions and may suffer the consequence.”
The mall was closed Sunday. But businesses and vendors were back to work this week.
Asa Berry, a vendor booth operator who works just outside Lids, lamented that shootings “are a normal thing that happens to minorities in Norfolk.”
However, Berry said he continues to feel safe working because, “I don’t have problems with people.”
“That issue was a problem between those individuals. Those people knew who they were after,” said Berry, who was not working Saturday.
At least three other shootings have occurred at the mall or in the parking garage since 2019. The mall erupted into chaos Feb. 14, 2019, after members of two rival gangs began firing at each other in front of the Nordstrom department store. Two people were injured, including one of the suspected shooters, and five people were arrested.
Eight months later, on Oct. 14, 2019, ta shooting at the mall injured a man and a woman after the male victim and two suspects got into an altercation. The injured woman was a bystander who was struck in the leg as she shopped. At the time, Boone said the incident was likely the result of a “gang beef turning into gunfire.”
Another shooting happened June 25, 2020, inside a mall parking garage. Two men were injured. Police arrested a 42-year-old Fredericksburg woman in connection with the shooting but were searching for two other male suspects.
MacArthur Center security management declined to comment on the mall’s security policies and procedures following Saturday’s shooting. Requests for comment from the MacArthur Center marketing department were not returned.
But Norfolk police officers were present walking the corridors of the mall alongside uniformed security guards this week.
“We just need the security to do their jobs and handle situations like the one that happened before it gets out of hand,” Gatling said.
Caitlyn Burchett, [email protected]