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Man in ‘grave condition’ after shooting at South Shore Plaza; shoppers flee scene, shooter at large

Massachhusetts state troopers directed traffic outside the South Shore Plaza after the shooting.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

BRAINTREE — Police searched for the suspect in a brazen Saturday afternoon shooting at South Shore Plaza that left a man in “grave condition,” and forced mall shoppers to flee as the surrounding neighborhood sheltered in place, according to investigators.

Braintree Police Deputy Chief Tim Cohoon said the shooting, which occurred inside the mall at about 3 p.m., looked to be a targeted attack.

“It doesn’t appear to be random at all. At this time, we don’t believe there’s any further danger to the surrounding neighborhoods,” Cohoon told reporters during a press conference held at the scene a few hours later.


The suspect pulled out a gun and shot the victim during an encounter, Cohoon said, and then fled the scene.

“The suspect who fired the shot, as best we can tell, immediately left the mall,” Cohoon said. “The mall did go into lockdown. We had officers on scene very quickly.”

Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey, who spoke briefly during a subsequent press conference Saturday night, said the victim was a 26-year-old man with a last known address in Boston.

He was transported to a Boston hospital, where he was “in serious and very grave condition” Saturday night, Morrissey said.

Investigators were processing a large area of the mall plaza, according to Morrissey.

In video posted to social media, shoppers could be seen running for the mall’s exits. As they evacuated, several officers armed with long guns rushed into the building.

Authorities do not know whether the man and the victim entered the mall together, according to Cohoon.

The State Police Detective Unit for Norfolk district attorney’s office along with Braintree police are leading the investigation into the shooting, according to David Procopio, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman.

The scene was secured by about 5:30 p.m., Procopio said.

Shortly before that time, police cruisers, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles filled a parking lot outside the mall’s Target and Nordstrom stores.


Two helicopters circled above the mall, which sits just west of the Flaherty Elementary School.

Braintree police first announced the activity at the mall shortly before 3:30 p.m. Saturday and warned people to avoid the area.

Less than 30 minutes later, they said the mall had closed and told people who had taken shelter that it was safe to come out.

Saturday’s shooting comes just a few weeks after a 22-year-old Boston man received an eight-year prison sentence for opening fire in the mall in July 2020.

That 2020 shooting wounded a 15-year-old girl, who was a bystander, prosecutors said.

Jose Rodriguez pleaded guilty Jan. 3 in Norfolk Superior Court to several charges, including armed assault to murder, according to the Norfolk district attorney’s office.

Morrissey said the 2020 shooting was an “outrageously reckless and dangerous act,” according to a statement earlier this month.

“It is only a matter of luck that the innocent girl who was shot, or any number of others in the area at the time, were not killed by these actions,” Morrissey said in Tuesday’s statement.

Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros, who also spoke during Saturday’s press conference, decried the day’s shooting as unacceptable and referenced the violence that rocked the mall nearly two years earlier.

Kokoros said officials would be working with the mall to “come up with solutions to these problems.”


“This is a place that people should be able to go and shop safely and we should not have gunshots being fired while people are out shopping and enjoying a Saturday,” Kokoros said.

Jamal Rhouat, who runs Atlantic Time inside the mall, said he didn’t hear the gunshots but knew something was wrong when people began running past his store Saturday afternoon.

“I thought it was a fire or something scary,” he said as he waited outside the mall for a rideshare Saturday evening. “I went outside my store and I asked some people who said there was a shooting. I saw people leaving quickly, so I left right away.”

A few hours passed before Rhouat said he was allowed back inside to get his things.

Anyone with information related to the shooting is asked to call Braintree police detectives at 781-794-8620 or e-mail tips@braintreema.gov.

Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico. John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.