Police identify teen killed in Towne East mall shooting

The Wichita Police Department said a fight led to a deadly shooting at Towne East Square mall.
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 5:53 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: The Wichita Police Department has identified the shooting victim as 14-year-old TrenJ’vious Hutton of Wichita. Police have arrested a 16-year-old male on a charge of 2nd-degree murder. Police have also released the 17-year-old arrested in connection to the shooting.

According to police, the fight led to a deadly shooting Friday at Towne East Square mall. WPD Public Information Officer Chad Ditch said Hutton died from his injuries at the scene. Police arrested two other teens, ages 16 and 17.

On Saturday morning, a representative with Towne East said the mall will reopen at 10 a.m.

Ditch said this stemmed from a fight involving the teens during which one of them pulled out a gun and shot the 14-year-old several times.

“A short time later, a suspect was located in the area, and we have two suspects now in custody,” he said.

Police said this was not a random cirme and was likely gang-related.

Anyone with information on what led up to the shooting should call WPD Investigations or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111. As the investigation continues, police did say witnesses they interviewed played a key role in helping officers to piece together what happened.

Friday evening, Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple addressed the situation live on Facebook.

“It’s an absolute tragic situation anytime a child falls victim to violence and we need to work together as a community to address these problems head on,” Whipple said. “I encourage folks to join in that discussion as we’re in this together and we need to take an all-hands-on-deck approach. Thank you to our police officers for all they do.”

Wichita police are responding to a shooting reported at Towne East Square mall, near Kellogg and Rock Road, in east Wichita. Police confirmed the nature of the heavy response, but it’s unclear how many injuries there may be or whether any arrests have been made.

Eyewitness News spoke with a pair of witnesses about what happened: an employee at the mall and a customer who helped his friend’s child take cover at the back of a store. The customer, a man named Noah, said it started with yelling and shoving, followed immediately by two gunshots with about five more after that. He said people started running.

The employee, Elias Jones, said he was standing by double doors near a west entrance when he heard five to six gunshots stemming from a fight. He said people recognized what was happening and began running and taking cover in stores. He said this happened on the first floor, near the inside entrances to Round 1 and Foot Locker.

“It was just fear,” he said. “And in my opinion, the worst part was seeing people’s faces when they were running into the store. That’s when we knew it was becoming something.”

Orlando Ventura, an employee at another store on the mall’s second floor described a hectic scene in which he heard four or five shots after seeing the fight. He said people were panicked, unsure if this was an active shooter situation. The employee said he helped people take cover in his store, locked gates and joined customers at the back of the store. While saddened that at least one person was shot, he said he was happy and relieved to know that all the customers that ran from the sound of gunfire are okay.

Wichita Police Department Public Information Officer Chad Ditch said the initial call made about 5:30 p.m. was that there was an active shooter at the mall, but responding officers soon confirmed that was not the case. He said there is no immediate threat to anyone at or near the mall, which is closed as police remain on the scene.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple addressed the situation on Facebook, saying Interim WPD Chief Lem Moore was keeping him and the Wichita City Council “updated as the situation unfolds.”

“For now, please keep our officers and those on the scene in your prayers,” Whipple wrote.

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