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Girl, 16, pulls gun on popcorn store owner in theft attempt, cops say. But owner is also armed and shoots girl in leg — then girl gets book thrown at her.

Girl, 16, pulls gun on popcorn store owner in theft attempt, cops say. But owner is also armed and shoots girl in leg — then girl gets book thrown at her.

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Police said a 16-year-old girl pulled a gun on a popcorn store owner at a Mississippi shopping mall Saturday — but the store owner also had a gun and shot the girl in the leg in what police said was an act of self-defense.

The suspect — Za’Lill D’Chelle Patterson — was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon and got tossed behind bars, WLBT-TV reported. She’s also being charged as an adult.

What are the details?

Authorities told the station that Patterson pulled a gun on the store owner at the Northpark Mall in Ridgeland around 5:20 p.m. amid a theft attempt.

But Ridgeland Police Chief Brian Myers told WLBT the store owner shot first, striking Patterson in the leg, after which, she was taken to a hospital for treatment. Police said no one else was injured, the station reported.

What happened next?

Patterson was being held at the Madison County Detention Center, the station said.

WJVT-TV said Patterson — who’s from Jackson — is being charged as an adult in the case, and her bond was set at $200,000 Monday in Ridgeland Municipal Court. Patterson also will be required to wear an electric monitor, WJVT reported.

Police said the store owner has been interviewed and has fully cooperated with the investigation, WLBT reported, adding that no charges have been made at this time.

Anything else?

The mall closed after the shooting but was open for business the next day, WLBT reported in a separate story about reaction to the incident.

Cathy Courtney told the station she was inside the mall with her 15-year-old when shots rang out.

“It was several shots, and we all just froze,” Courtney recounted to WLBT. “We were all kind of ducking down, and people started to run. There was an employee hiding in the bathroom. I mean, people were terrified for their life.”

Courtney told the station she got really scared after realizing her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend no longer were with her.

“My daughter said that she took off running. She just started running the opposite way, and her boyfriend followed,” Courtney added to WLBT. “They were able to run to the other side and exit through the mall entrance down at the other end.”

Courtney also told the station she’s “just thankful to be here and thankful that my children are alive.”



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