Gun battle outside Pennsylvania Target store leaves 1 dead, scared shoppers shelter-in-place

Two men were seen having a heated verbal altercation which soon descended into a violent gun battle at the Target store in Lower Nazareth


                            Gun battle outside Pennsylvania Target store leaves 1 dead, scared shoppers shelter-in-place
Police taped off the shooting area following a fierce gun battle (Representational Photo, Scott Olson/Getty Images)

LOWER NAZARETH TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA: A bloody gun battle has led to the death of one person and injured another in Lower Nazareth Township near Allentown, Pennsylvania. The incident took place in the parking lot of a Target store around 2:15 pm on Sunday, August 8, 2021. Eyewitnesses claim that two men started firing at each other from behind their cars, which ultimately left a third man severely injured. "He was so disoriented, he was bleeding bad," an unnamed eyewitness revealed. 

The brutal shootout happened at a strip mall where two of the men involved were badly wounded. One of them ultimately succumbed to their injuries at the local hospital. It is not certain whether it is the same man who was hit by the bullets while opening the door of a passenger sedan. He was spotted slumping to the ground and bleeding profusely before being taken to the hospital. Police are yet to release the identities of the perpetrators. In the past few years, there had been several mass shootings in Pennsylvania. In 2019, ten people were shot outside a nightclub in Allentown, while there was a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue prior to that. In September 2020, another shooting incident was reported at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township. 

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According to 6Action News, on Sunday afternoon, two cars pulled up outside the Target store in the strip mall in Lower Nazareth. Two men were seen having a heated verbal altercation which soon descended into a violent gun battle. Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck said one car was in the lot when at least one additional car drove up. People inside the cars exchanged words and it escalated into a shootout, reports NBC10.

Hunter Philips, a 21-year-old man, shared that he heard the gunshots when in the parking lot with his father. He then saw a man leaning over the hood of a white car, while he was firing at a black car parked nearby. Another man, who was in the driver's seat of the black car, kept firing back as well. 

Soon after word spread about the shooters, there was panic at the store, and customers were urged to leave the shop. However, the open shooting at the parking lot led many customers back into the store. "We all had to shelter-in-place and the police locked down the lot," said eyewitness Jayden Ofray. Another customer, Tammy Lee James, shared their traumatizing experience with WFMZ. "At first I was really, really scared; I thought I was going to pass out. The girls were screaming and I went back for my purse, they went with the woman who was handling the fitting room department," they shared. 

Another witness, Annisa, told NBC10 that she had arrived shortly after the shooting. Annisa learned of the incident as she got near the store and saw blood around the entrance. Then other customers told her there had been a shooting. "It was insane," she said, adding that customers were confused until police locked down the shopping center. Officers also searched a nearby Burlington department store, she said.

Concerned eyewitnesses called 911 and prompted police to arrive at the scene. At least a dozen police cars soon cordoned off the area around the parking lot. Later, a handgun and blood-smeared clothes were seen dumped on the ground, alongside other evidence markers.

 

Further details about the shooting are likely to be revealed as the investigation proceeds.