Two men shot at Newport Mall in gang-related incident

Mall shooting prompts rush- hour lockdown.
Mall shooting prompts rush- hour lockdown.

A fight in the food area of Newport Mall resulted in two people wounded in what may be part of a gang-related retaliation for a shooting earlier this week, according police officials.

One of the victims was also arrested in relationship to a murder elsewhere in the city.

The shoppers were locked down for a short time while police searched the mall for potential gunmen.

Police officials said a fistfight in the food court area of the mall at about 6 p.m. ended with a shooting that appears to have been related to other crimes including a shootout on Grand St. earlier this week.

Police officers on the scene said the mall incident was gang related and most likely retaliation.

This incident could put pressure on the city to beef up police presence in the mall, said several officers, since in the past, the mall used a combination of off-duty police and private security with a regularly assigned officer.

Because of misuse of off-duty police assignments, the city phased out the program that allowed off-duty cops to work as private contractors and security.

“The gangs know this,” said one cop. “And they think they can get away with a lot more because cops aren’t there. Even when cops are on off-duty assignments, they keep stuff like this from happening.”

The mall shootout follows a previous incident on Grand St. earlier in the week in which a number of schools were put into lockdown over a threat of a shooting.

It is unclear if the mall shooters were arrested, but the one victim wanted in the previous shooting was arrested after being treated at Jersey City Medical Center, police officials said.