Police: Man Who Shot 3 At Arizona Complex Felt Bullied

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The Westgate retail district is closed off Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. Police say one person is in critical condition and two others were injured in a shooting Wednesday evening near the shopping and entertainment district west of Phoenix. A Glendale police spokeswoman said Wednesday that the suspect was taken into custody safely. (AP Photo/Matt York)

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A 20-year-old gunman who opened fire at a suburban Phoenix restaurant and retail complex, injuring three people, wanted to target people in his own age group in retaliation for being bullied, authorities said Thursday.

The shooting rampage occurred Wednesday night after suspect Armando Hernandez scoped out Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, returned to his car to make a social media video and loaded three rifle magazines, police said.

“I’m going to be the shooter of Westgate 2020,” Hernandez said in his Snapchat video, holding a beer in one hand. The footage also shows an AR-15-type rifle in the backseat of the car.

“Let’s get this done, guys,” he said.

Hernandez later surrendered, telling detectives that he intended to harm 10 people, though it’s unclear why he chose that number.

“He wanted to gain some respect, and he felt that he had been bullied in his life,” Glendale police Sgt. Randy Stewart said.

Police say Hernandez filmed the attack while holding a cellphone with his left hand and blasting away with the rifle in his right hand.

The first two victims were shot outside a restaurant. As the gunman moved through the complex, police said, he fired shots to intimidate people before shooting the third victim.

Hernandez surrendered without incident to one of the first officers who arrived at the complex adjacent to the stadium where the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals play.

Authorities say Hernandez wounded a 19-year-old man, who remained hospitalized in critical condition. A 16-year-old girl was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. A third victim, a 30-year-old woman, did not require hospitalization.

Hernandez, who lives in the neighboring suburb of Peoria, could face more than a dozen felony charges. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

It’s not yet clear how many shots were fired. Investigators say Hernandez moved around the complex during the attack, leaving spent shells in different spots.

“Armando stated multiple times he wanted to do this mass shooting for respect and spoke of interest in previous mass shootings that have occurred in recent years,” police said in court records.

Bystander video posted on social media showed people running from the area and embracing after being reunited.

Eliana Rivera, a sales associate at a pottery painting store, posted on Twitter that she and a co-worker heard police running and helicopters overhead as they huddled in the back of the business, the Arizona Republic reported.

“It’s just unreal,” Rivera said. “You see it on the news. It happens and you never really think that you would be put in that position. You just think, ‘What are the chances that that will happen?’ — and it did.”

State Sen. Martin Quezada was in his third floor home at Westgate when shots rang out and the power cut off after gunfire struck an electrical transformer.

From his window, he saw people running, then a man appeared to be reloading a gun while walking calmly toward his building. When he went outside, he saw two people laying in the street crying out in pain.

“To be honest, I don’t think a lot of it has really settled in yet about what I witnessed and what actually took place out there,” Quezada said.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Being bullied or abused is a terrible thing and sometimes we see eventual pushback like we just saw here. One of the worst things is when a boss abuses their employees. Even though they can technically quit, the fear and embarrassment of being unemployed with no income at all can sometimes cloud their judgement. I know. I was such a victim when I was younger and stuck in a dead-end burn out job.

    • Your comments are totally irrelevant to the cowardly sociopath involved in the shooting. If he didn’t use the bullying excuse, he would have mentioned some other excuse such as being mistreated by his parents, being rejected by women, etc. We hear the same garbage every time these horrible incidents occur, especially by defense attorneys. The only way to stop these heinous crimes from occurring in malls, is to have mandatory screening at all entrances. However, the mall owners don’t want to do that, because of the cost involved.

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