People run for their lives as a gunman with AR-15 opens fire. The shooter is now hit with 16 charges
‘The shooter of Westgate 2020’, as a 20-year-old gunman introduced himself, opened fire on an Arizona shopping mall with an AR-15.
He injured at least three people while filming the attack on a Snapchat video.
On Wednesday, at around 7:25 pm, police received reports of shots fired at the Westgate Entertainment Center in Glendale, as Mail Online reports. Officers, with the help of the shooter’s mother, identified him as Armando Hernandez Jr from Peoria.
Hernandez allegedly recorded a disturbing Snapchat video carrying out his rampage. While sitting in his car outside the mall, the gunman says:
“Hello, my name is Armando Junior Hernandez and I’m gonna be the shooter of Westgate 2020.”
He then flashes a beer can in front of the camera and shows off his ammunition in the backseat.
Frightened people outside the shopping center were running for their lives, shouting: ‘It’s a shooting!’
The Arizona shooter’s mother was devastated. She decided to help the police and revealed her son’s identity. To the local TV station, 12 News, she said she had no idea why was Armando doing this. She also shared her younger son warned her of the shooting, saying: ‘Armando’s going crazy’.
The convict was caught on camera surrendering to police in the mall’s parking lot. One of the victims of the shooting is in critical condition. The other two are expected to survive. None of the injured people have been named.
In a Twitter post, State Senator Martín Quezada wrote he was amongst the people who witnessed the shooting. He tweeted:
I just witnessed an armed terrorist with an AR-15 shoot up Westgate. There are multiple victims.
— Sen. Martín Quezada (@SenQuezada29) May 21, 2020
In a follow-up tweet, the Arizona State Senator added:
“I saw 2 victims with my own eyes. Not sure how many others I saw the shooter. Being told not to say anything else about details ’til I speak to police. I’m ok. Lots of shaken up people.”
Additionally, Mr. Quezada spoke to the local outlet, sharing he saw the shooter through his window after the shots were fired.
Previously, the 20-year-old suspect attended Raymond Kellis High School, just over the road from the popular entertainment hub.
Investigators were seen at Hernandez’s home in Peoria taking photographs and removing evidence from the home.
They were raiding the house between 11:00 pm and 3:30 am the same night.
The videoclips Armando took show him wearing a face mask while opening the rear door of his car to display an AR-15 situated on the back seat. He can be heard saying:
“We’ll be shooting up Westgate. Let’s get this done guys.”
Later on, recordings of the shooter’s rampage show him saying: ‘It’s society’s fault’.
After firing several shots, the suspect calmly walks through the area he hides between some cars. However, when a patrol vehicle pulls up to him, he surrenders himself to officers. His motive is yet to be announced.
One of the terrified witnesses, a teenage girl working at the mall, shares:
“It was…I don’t even know. My first instinct was to call my mom, so I called her once I got into the back and grabbed my stuff to run to my car. Everyone was in the back. When we went to the door the shots got louder so we came back.”
Officers locked down the area around the Westgate shopping center.
They also have been inspecting individual stores with weapons drawn and accompanied by a K9 unit, searching for any additional victims or suspects.
Following reports of the shooting, people living in the area were ordered to shelter in place. They have also been strongly advised to stay out of the mall’s area.
The gunman is now in custody, officers confirm:
“One suspect is in custody. We are shutting down the Westgate area to ensure everyone is safe. Media staging will be at Cabelas parking lot.”
Hours after the shooting, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey released a statement:
“First and foremost, our hearts and prayers are with the individuals and families impacted tonight, as well as the first responders and police officers who are on the scene. The state is here to continue to offer its full support to the victims and to the community.”
The 20-year-old shooter, Armando Hernandez, is now facing 16 felony charges.
The charges include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault resulting in serious physical injury.
As Mail Online reveals, Sergeant Randy Stewart, with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed Hernandez admitted to being the shooter. He even shared he intended to harm 10 people.