The deadly shooting at the Fox River Mall wasn’t the first time a sudden burst of violence interrupted the day-to-day commotion of a busy shopping mall.
There have been shootings inside malls, or sometimes in nearby parking lots, in other places in Wisconsin and across the rest of the country.
On Sunday afternoon, Jovanni Frausto, a 19-year-old from Neenah, died in a shooting at the Fox River Mall, a popular destination for shoppers in northeast Wisconsin and beyond. Many shoppers fled, while others found a place to hide inside as police spent hours searching the mall and escorting people out.
The shooter is thought to have left before police arrived at the mall, said Travis Waas, public information officer for the Grand Chute Police Department. As of Tuesday morning, police were still looking for 17-year-old Dezman Ellis, hoping to question him about his involvement in the incident.
The Fox River Mall has had a large police response at least once before. In December 2016, the mall was evacuated as a precaution after police learned of a person threatening to shoot it up. People inside were told to evacuate or seek to shelter in place. The incident, which began as a welfare check, ended without any shots fired.
The man who made the threat, Christopher Hawkins, a 32-year-old from Green Bay, was convicted of making terrorist threats and disorderly conduct. He was later sentenced to a year and a month in prison.
Here are some other notable incidents of gun violence at malls in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the U.S.
Eight people were wounded in a shooting Nov. 20, 2020, near Macy’s at Mayfair, a mall in Wauwatosa. A swarm of police responded to the scene and the mall was closed the following day.
A 15-year-old suspect was arrested two days after the shooting during a traffic stop in Milwaukee. He and a friend were in the mall when the friend confronted a group descending an escalator, yelling before punching one of the group, according to a delinquency petition filed against the teen.
Witnesses told police that the teen, farther back, “took a shooter’s stance,” and with a handgun drawn from his waistband, began firing. After the shooting, the teen and his friend — who was struck by the gunfire — stopped in the Enzo store before fleeing the mall. Police eventually determined the shooting was related to a drug deal.
The teen’s court case is still ongoing, though his lawyer has indicated he will fight to keep the case in juvenile court.
A 26-year-old Milwaukee man, Jose Aviles Hernandez, was charged in the death of his coworker’s boyfriend, 30-year-old Daniel Colon, who was found shot to death Jan. 26, 2020, in the U.S. Bank parking lot at Bayshore, an open-air mall in Glendale.
That morning, Colon had been arguing with his girlfriend about her friendship with Aviles Hernandez, who was one of her coworkers at The Cheesecake Factory, according to court documents.
When Aviles Hernandez arrived at work, Colon confronted him about his relationship with his girlfriend. Colon told his girlfriend to drive to Aviles Hernandez’s car, then used a tire iron to smash one of the windows, the court documents say.
Then, back in the U.S. Bank parking lot, Aviles Hernandez, armed with a gun, ran toward Colon. Colon tried to run, but Aviles Hernandez fired multiple times, killing Colon, the court documents say.
In October, Aviles Hernandez pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless homicide and second-degree recklessly endangering safety, according to court records. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March.
East Towne Mall, Madison
A 19-year-old man was injured in a shooting Dec. 19, 2015, at East Towne Mall in Madison. He was hospitalized with a leg wound after a dispute between two groups of teenagers at the mall turned violent, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report.
A mall employee also was struck in the pant leg by a ricocheted bullet, but was not injured, police said. The dispute that led to the shooting involved at least 10 people and at least several were detained.
Many shoppers fled in the aftermath of the shooting, some running into nearby stores, some dropping shopping bags, purses and other items. Police locked down the mall and went store to store, releasing groups of people as they were found. Outside, officers stood by the doors to keep anyone else from going inside.
The victim of the shooting, along with several witnesses directly involved in the dispute, were not cooperative with investigators, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Other U.S. mall shootings
- Sept. 23, 2016: A 20-year-old man shot and killed five people at Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington.
- Feb. 7, 2015: A 17-year-old male wounded three people in a shooting at Monroeville Mall in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.
- Jan. 25, 2014: A 19-year-old man shot and killed two people and wounded another at The Mall in Columbia in Columbia, Maryland.
- Dec. 11, 2012: A 22-year-old man shot and killed two people at Clackamas Town Center in Clackamas County near Portland, Oregon.
- July 20, 2012: A 24-year-old man shot and killed 12 people and injured 70 more at a Century 16 movie theater at a mall in Aurora, Colorado.
- Feb. 2, 2008: An unidentified person shot and killed five people at a clothing store at Brookside Marketplace in Tinley Park, Illinois.
- Dec. 5, 2007: A 19-year-old man shot and killed eight people and wounded four others in a department store at Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska.
- Feb. 12, 2007: An 18-year-old man shot and killed five people and wounded four others at Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Nov. 20, 2005: A man shot and wounded six people and took four others hostage before surrendering to police at Tacoma Mall in Tacoma, Washington.
- Oct. 30, 1985: A 25-year-old woman shot and killed three people and wounded seven others in a shooting at Springfield Mall in Springfield, Pennsylvania.