MASS HYSTERIA: Andy native who was working Thursday night describes scene in mall

Published 2:44 am Saturday, November 24, 2018

An Andalusia native who is a store manager in The Galleria in Hoover said she was still feeling shaken Friday night after several people were injured in a shooting there Thanksgiving night.

Savannah Ricks, a co-manager a Journeys Kidz, described the scene inside the Galleria Thursday night as “mass hysteria.”

Hoover police said in a media update Friday that it appeared two individuals were involved in a physical altercation that led to a 21-year-old male shooting an 18-year-old male multiple times. The 18-year-old victim was shot and transported to UAB Hospital, where he remained on Friday.

A Hoover policeman shot and killed a fleeing suspect, 21, who had a gun drawn. But on Friday, Hoover police said they now believe he was not the shooter, who remains at large.

Ricks said she heard people dropping chairs downstairs.

“That sounded more like gunshots,” she said. “I heard a weird echo sound and then I saw waves of people running. It was mass hysteria. Something like that doesn’t happen if something isn’t wrong.”

Ricks said she made sure her customers and work associates were behind the gate.

“We pulled everything inside and I closed it,” she said, “Stephanie, my general manager, helped emergency shut it, and was a calm presence for everyone there. I made sure my sales associates were in the stock room.”

Ricks said customers were terrified for their own safety, and for the safety of family and friends who were shopping in the mall.

“There were a lot of people on phones talking to loved ones to make sure they were all right,” she said.

Investigators have not yet said what caused the altercation, in which a 12-year-old in the vicinity also was shot. reported she had a bullet lodged near her spine, but none of her organs were damaged, and she was expected to be released from Children’s Hospital soon. But Ricks said she doesn’t think she’ll every participate financially in Black Friday, again.

“I’m still shaken – I’ve never had to deal with that kind of thing before,” she said. “I’m just glad none of my sales associates or other managers got hurt. This event could have been a lot worse, and I’m thankful that the police moved quickly to deal with the shooting. I don’t think I will ever financially participate in a Black Friday event from this day on – these kinds of fights over material goods happen too often.”