Chandler Mall shooting suspect fired 30 rounds in parking lot, police say; new details revealed

Chandler police officials said they are investigating a shooting at the Chandler Fashion Center, also known as Chandler Mall, on August 1.

A day later, 19-year-old Nathaniel Anthony Vensor was arrested for allegedly firing at least 30 bullets into the mall parking lot. However, the police maintain that no one was injured.

“At 10:34 a.m. on August 2, 2022, police were dispatched to the Chandler Fashion Center with reports from security of Vensor’s purchases inside the mall. When officers arrived, CCTV captured Vensor’s purchases. Vensor. Police arrested Vensor at 11:03 a.m. Vensor was unarmed and wearing the same baseball cap he purchased at the mall before the August 1, 2022 shooting,” police said.

Court documents reveal new details

Chandler police have also released court documents related to the suspect.

The incident allegedly began when Vensor, armed with an AR-15 rifle, attempted to rob a man in the parking lot.

“The victim refused to hand over his property to Vensor. According to the victim, Vensor shot him and into the air. Vensor then fled with his girlfriend in his vehicle, and the victim ran to safety inside the mall,” read part of the court documents.

During the investigation, police found a total of 30 bullet casings where the attempted theft took place.

Surveillance footage taken earlier in the day had shown the victim, Vensor, Vensor’s girlfriend and another person all coming to the mall together.

When they all left, court documents say the accused gunman immediately walked to the passenger side of his girlfriend’s car to retrieve the gun. That’s when the theft took place.

“The video is unclear but shows the altercation described,” the documents say.

Vensor returned to the mall later that day and was arrested after mall security notified police.

At the time of Vensor’s arrest, investigators said they found 30 fentanyl pills in his possession, and in an interview that was conducted after Vensor read his Miranda warnings, investigators noted that Vensor appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic.

The 19-year-old is already on probation in Pinal County for discharging a firearm at a residential structure.

He faces charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon and possession of drugs.

Buyers describe the scene

Sierra Thomas, who was at the mall at the time of the incident, described what happened when the shoppers fled.

“We’re going down the escalators, and we heard a bunch of people running down the halls, and we heard there was gunfire,” Thomas said. “We went out [through] Forever 21 [exit]. Everyone was running. Everyone was tripping over each other. It’s pretty scary.”

The incident left some buyers on edge.

“Twitter says he’s not a threat to the community or the mall, but now he’s in the community, so it’s like, is he going to Scottsdale next? Paradise Valley? And then?” said Cassidy Wallin.

Chandler Mall has seen previous incidents

This is not the first time Chandler Mall has witnessed a violent incident.

In March 2021, a fight at the mall ended in a stab wound which caused injuries. Four people have been arrested in connection with the May 2021 incident. They have been identified as Andrew Courtney, Tarik Deeb, Isaias Reece and Nicholas Aguilar.

Shopping malls in the Phoenix area have seen incidents in recent years

The Phoenix area has seen a number of public safety incidents at shopping malls in recent years.

The incident at the Chandler Mall on August 1 happened just days after an incident at Arizona Mills, where authorities say an altercation led to reports of gunfire. In this case, however, police officials said it was unclear if there were any actual shots fired, or if the reported loud noises were from the sounds of security gates closing. No injuries were reported.

In March 2022, a shooting left several injured, including a four-year-old child, in the Tanger Outlets near the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale. Police later arrested a 17-year-old in connection with the incident. The teenager, according to the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office, will be charged as an adult, is identified as Raul Ulices Franco.

In May 2020, three people were shot at the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale. The shooter, since identified as Armando Hernandez Jr., admitted to the shooting and told police he was bullied and wanted to gain respect. He also said he intended to injure 10 people.

On July 8, 2022, we reported that Hernandez, who pleaded guilty to four counts, included attempted murder, as part of a plea deal, was sentenced to 44 years in prison. After his release, Hernandez will be placed on supervised probation for an additional seven years. He is forbidden to own a weapon and can never return to Westgate.

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