Harper Woods, Mich. – A dispute between two rival groups of teenagers escalated into gunfire Saturday when members of one of the groups opened fire inside a shopping mall, critically injuring one teenager and a clothing store worker as holiday shoppers dashed for cover, police said.
The shooting happened around 6 p.m. at Eastland Mall, east of Detroit, on the heels of Black Friday, traditionally the kickoff for what retailers hope is the busiest weekend of the holiday season. The mall was closed for the night as police searched for suspects, said Harper Woods deputy police chief Jim Burke.
The 18-year-old victim, a member of the rival group, was struck in the chest, and a stray bullet hit the leg of the worker, in his mid-30s, who was standing outside the clothing store, Burke said.
“He just happened to be standing out there and this broke loose,” Burke said.
Both were taken to St. Johns Hospital in Detroit. Burke said they were listed in critical condition but were expected to survive.
Burke said the shooting caused panicked shoppers to run for cover or exits as chaos unfolded inside the mall, which has more than 100 stores and restaurants.
Palin in Iowa for book-signing
West Des Moines, Iowa – Hundreds turned out for a Sarah Palin book signing in Iowa, an event the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate insisted was not for political purposes.
Palin’s stop Saturday at the Borders in West Des Moines brought her back to Iowa, which hosts the caucuses that kick off the presidential nominating season.
The “American by Heart” author has hinted that she’s considering a 2012 presidential run, but said the visit was to promote her new book and that’s all.
Security was tight, and Palin did no media interviews.
Palin is scheduled to return to Iowa on Thursday for an event in Spirit Lake.
Boyfriend held in student’s death
Clay, N.Y. – A 20-year-old Pennsylvania dance student who vanished last week while on Thanksgiving break in her hometown was killed by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, who then dumped her body in a park “like garbage,” a prosecutor said Saturday.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said 21-year-old Steven Pieper, of Liverpool, N.Y., was charged with murder in the death of Jenni-Lyn Watson, a junior dance major at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. He pleaded not guilty Saturday night at his initial appearance in Clay town court.
Pieper was held without bail because of the seriousness of the charge.
Willie Nelson bus yields marijuana
Sierra Blanca, Texas – Country singer Willie Nelson was charged with marijuana possession after 6 ounces was found aboard his tour bus in Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said.
Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks said the bus pulled into the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint about 9 a.m. Friday. An officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up marijuana, Brooks said.
The Hudspeth County sheriff was contacted and Nelson was among three people arrested.
The singer was held briefly on a $2,500 bond before being released.