WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- As the call of shots fired at Valley West Mall reached the West Des Moines Police Department, they prepared for the worst.
"Of course an immediate response, and any time we have a shooting within a structure like that we send everyone. We utilize some of our different techniques," said Sergeant Adam Porath.
The shooting occurred on Thursday around 6 p.m. inside Younkers, on the top floor near the Polo department. Witnesses say they heard one single gun shot and heard the juvenile teenage suspect in a black jacket yell, 'oh *expletive,* I shot myself.'
Porath said, "I'm not sure this person was properly trained. Obviously having a weapon concealed is dangerous in itself, but if the method of concealment is not sufficient with the weapon or it's not a proper holster, there's a lot of things that can be problematic."
The suspects then fled the scene and police would not have been able to catch them had it not been for Younkers employees noticing the teenager with the gunshot wound dropping a piece of paper containing his entire class schedule within the Des Moines Public School District.
"We are still determining whether or not charges are going to be applicable for this situation, but Valley West Mall does not allow weapons specifically inside their mall," said Porath.
Officers located the teenage suspect at his home, but not the gun. The suspect claims he got rid of it near Valley West Mall. Police transported him to Mercy Hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.
Porath said, "Being shot with any sort of weapon is a very serious matter. Firearms are not to be taken lightly. You should never use a firearm unless you are properly trained or supervised."
While the call turned out to be an unusual one, police say it is no laughing matter.
"Valley West Mall and West Des Moines police collaborate to take appropriate action with these kinds of things and we want to make sure your safety is of the utmost importance."
The juvenile could be facing charges of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and discharging a firearm within city limits.
While police say the mall prohibits firearms, there is no signage on any of the public entrances of the mall.