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Teen faces murder charge in shooting during Texas mall melee

Law enforcement agents are seen at an entrance of a shopping mall, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in El Paso, Texas. Police say one person was killed and three other people were wounded in a shooting at Cielo Vista Mall. One person has been taken into custody, El Paso police spokesperson Sgt. Robert Gomez said. (AP Photo/Andrés Leighton)
Andrés Leighton/AP
FR171260 AP
Law enforcement agents are seen at an entrance of Cielo Vista Mall, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in El Paso, Texas after a shooting.

A 16-year-old boy who fatally shot a 17-year-old boy and wounded two others during a fight between two groups at a mall in El Paso, Texas, faces a murder charge and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, police said Friday.

The suspect himself was shot and wounded by an armed bystander as he ran from the Feb. 15 melee at Cielo Vista Mall, according to authorities. Police said the suspect, who has been referred to the juvenile probation department, was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Police said the suspect used a handgun that had been reported stolen.

The suspect allegedly opened fire after a confrontation between the two groups escalated into a physical fight. Police said he fatally shot 17-year-old Angeles Zaragoza and wounded the other 17-year-old boy, as well as a 20-year-old man who was part of his own group.

He then allegedly ran toward the bystander and others while pointing his gun in their direction, and was shot by the bystander.

The bystander and an off-duty officer working security for a store helped render aid to the suspect and the others who were wounded, police said.

Police said the three counts of aggravated assault are related to the two who were wounded and an 18-year-old woman who was not hurt. The juvenile allegedly pointed the gun at her.

Police said in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that two people were taken into custody. On Friday they clarified that those two were the juvenile suspect and the wounded 20-year-old, but the investigation determined the latter was not criminally involved and he was not expected to be charged.

As of Friday, only one person wounded in the incident remained hospitalized. A spokesman for the University Medical Center of El Paso said that the patient was in stable condition.

The shooting happened in a busy shopping area and across a large parking lot from the Walmart where 23 people were killed in a racist attack targeting Hispanic people in 2019.

El Paso, with a largely Latino population of about 700,000 people, sits on the border with Mexico, which residents of both countries cross frequently.

By JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press