Shoppers question safety at Carmel Mountain mall

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SAN DIEGO – A weekend shooting has shoppers at a popular Carmel Mountain mall questioning security.

“If I have to go through a metal detector, I’m ok with that,” said Shelondra Frye, a shopper.  “It’s not just for my safety, it’s for my son’s safety and you know the rest of my family and others as well.”

Shoppers were reacting to Saturday’s police involved shooting at the Reading Cinema complex. Tom Billodeaux, 20, of Escondido was shot by police officers as he tried to hide in theater number 9.

Movie Theater Shooting“When officers approached him, he began to show his hands.  On the second time, he was armed with a handgun,” said Capt. Terry McManus of San Diego police homicide unit.  “Fearing for their life and the lives of others, one of the officers removed his service revolver and fired at the suspect, striking the suspect.”

Billodeaux was taken in critical condition to Palomar Medical Center, he’s expected to survive.

Police said initially the 20-year old confronted his girlfriend at the Chipotle restaurant across the street from the theater.  He waited until she was on  a break and approached her with a gun, investigators said.  When a bystander tried to help, he also threatened him with a gun.

“There was a group of customers just hiding out here,” said Adrian Amante.  “You could tell they were startled and they didn’t know what was going on.”

Amante owns the furniture store next to the theater.  During the Saturday’s search, many theater-goers ended up at his store.

“It was obvious, it wasn’t targeted to the theater, the guy was just hiding out,” said Amante.  “It wasn’t like he came in and had intentions to shoot up the theater.”

Amante said in all of his 18 years at the Carmel Mountain Plaza location, nothing like this has ever happened.  The incident has him thinking about taking matters into his own hands.

“I know a lot of business owners who keep firearms to protect themselves from nuts like this,” said Amante.  “I want to protect myself, I want to protect my staff, my customers and anyone else.”

SDPD said the officer involved in the shooting has been on the force for a year and a half.  His name is not being released at this time.


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