Christmas Eve shooting kills 1 at shopping mall in suburban New Orleans; suspect in custody

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GRETNA, Louisiana — A man who was shopping at a suburban New Orleans mall on Christmas Eve was shot to death at close range and a suspect was in custody, police said.

The incident happened around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, less than two hours before the Oakwood Center mall in Gretna was scheduled to close for the holiday, said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

The victim had just purchased something from Foot Locker and had turned from the cash register when a man walked within 3 or 4 feet of him and began shooting, Normand said. No one else was injured.

"Obviously, based on witness accounts, he walked in with purpose of shooting this particular individual," Normand said when asked if the person was targeted.

At least three shots were fired and the man was pronounced dead on the scene, he said.

Sheriff's office spokesman Col. John N. Fortunato said in a statement Wednesday night that the incident was captured on surveillance video and that the victim had been identified as 24-year-old James Vaughn of Harvey.

In the aftermath of the shooting, "there was bedlam in the mall," Normand said. Mall security, deputies and Gretna police calmed everyone to make for an orderly evacuation, he said.

Normand said the shooter was apprehended several blocks from the mall.

The suspect is a 25-year-old man, according to Fortunato's statement. The Associated Press is not naming him because he has not formally been charged.

Normand said authorities were questioning the man, who would likely face a charge of second-degree murder.

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