CONCORD, N.C. — Concord police arrested and charged a teenager who they said shot a man inside the AMC Theaters at the Concord Mills mall Sunday night.
Authorities said they identified the shooter as 18-year-old Bryant Eaves Jr. and, with the help of Lancaster County deputies, took him into custody Monday at his home on Keswick Terrace in Indian Land, South Carolina.
Eaves was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill. Eaves waived extradition at a hearing Tuesday morning and will go back to Concord to face charges.
Police said the victim, William Weldon of Charlotte, was rushed to the hospital after being shot inside the theater Sunday evening. He was treated for his injuries and later released.
Authorities said the shooting happened around 6 p.m. during a dispute over seating in the theater and was not an active shooter situation.
>> We first updated WSOCTV news app users with a notification just before 7 p.m. Sunday that police were investigating a shooting at Concord Mills Mall. Download the WSOCTV news app for your smartphone and get updates on this developing story as they come in.
Weldon is an Air National Guardsman and opened up to Channel 9 less than 24 hours after he was shot while attending a showing of the horror movie "Us."
Weldon said he walked into the theater with his mother and saw a man and his woman in his assigned seats. He said he showed them his tickets and politely pointed out to Eaves that they weren’t supposed to be in those seats.
“We never fought, we never said anything,” Weldon said.
Weldon said he never raised his voice or confronted Eaves, but when the young couple got up to leave, it turned into an ambush.
“I seen him with his back turned reach inside his pants, because I seen his arm. He reached down, aimed the gun down, shot me in the leg, then took off running,” Weldon said.
In the confusion, Weldon said the gunman and his girlfriend disappeared.
Officers arrived at the theater quickly but approached cautiously, and Weldon’s military training told him why.
“I know they have precautions they need to take because they don't know if the guy was running around shooting multiple people. The only thing they know is shots fired,” Weldon said.
Officials said Eaves left before police arrived.
Authorities closed the mall immediately after the shooting.
Moviegoers described to Channel 9's DaShawn Brown a chaotic scene that included people running and falling over each other, crime scene tape, and blood on the ground inside the movie theater.
A teenager who heard the gunshots said he did not know if he was more nervous or scared.
"It sounded like gunshots, it sounded like popping noises and everyone started running so I started running so I didn't have to be in the chaotic moment," Brach Walker said.
Jonathan Winchell said he traveled from Greenville, South Carolina because Concord was the closest theater showing the film he wanted to see.
"What's scarier is the fact that it's not so scary because it happens all the time," Winchell said. "Anyone being shot should be a horrendous, unlikely, should never happen."
Winchell said he also let a stranger use his phone so they could let their family know they were safe as law enforcement evacuated the mall.
Channel 9 checked with AMC, and guns are not allowed in the theaters. According to the AMC Theater Code of Conduct, "Carrying or displaying weapons of any kind -- real or toy -- are not allowed."
It also bans fighting, engaging in intimidating, disordering, or disruptive behavior.
If you have information regarding this case, you are encouraged to call the Concord Police Department at 704-920-5000.
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.
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