Police have arrested a second teenager in connection to the shooting of a 15-year-old female at Danbury Fair Mall earlier this month.
Investigators said they identified 18-year-old Derek Sotelo, of Danbury, as being part of a group that arrived at the mall intending to confront the group that included the 14-year-old male shooter.
According to investigators, Sotelo was armed with a hammer and was seen on surveillance footage showing the hammer as a weapon during the incident.
On Tuesday, a judge granted a warrant for Sotelo's arrest and he was found and arrested by police. Sotelo was held on bond and is facing charges including criminal attempt to commit assault, reckless endangerment, inciting to riot, inciting injury to a person, risk of injury to a minor and breach of peace.
A 15-year-old female was shot in the chest and was alert and conscious when emergency crews arrived. She was taken to Danbury Hospital and was later transferred to Connecticut Children's. Her injuries are considered non-life threatening.
The shooting happened during an altercation between two groups on Wednesday, according to police. One person fired a shot and struck the female.
Authorities said the shooter was identified as a 14-year-old male who lives in Danbury. The suspected gun used in the incident has been recovered, they added.
Earlier this month, a Superior Court Judge granted a warrant for the 14-year-old's arrest. Last Monday, the 14-year-old shooter turned himself into investigators while accompanied with his parents and attorney.
He was processed for charges including assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, risk of injury to a minor, breach of peace, authorities said. The male was then transported to the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.
The mall was placed on lockdown during the incident. People who were in the mall described a frightening scene.
“I just heard a loud pow, a loud bang,” Tyreef Mahboob, of Danbury, said. “As I'm running out, there's a young girl next to me. I would say she's about 16, 17. She was crying hysterically saying her friend just got shot.”
People who work in the mall said they locked their stores down and one woman was in a fitting room at the time.
Nine people got into a closet and locked the door.
The mall opened at its normal hours last Thursday, but for those working or shopping there at the time of the shooting the reality of the incident inside the mall really started to sink in.
“The first thing that went through my head, it was, ‘I am about to be in a mass shooting,’ and I immediately freaked out,” said Matt Alexandre, who works at a kiosk just a stone’s throw away from the shooting. “The gun shot sounded like it was right next to me because Macy’s is only feet down from me.”
He said, “I turn around and I see everyone running, so you know, survival instincts kicks..”
“I look at my 14-year-old daughter and I said, ‘Francesca come here. Grab my hand and don’t let go no matter what you do,” said Christopher Buccieri, of Newtown.
A spur of the moment trip to a sporting goods store at the mall had him running to get his daughter out of harm’s way when he saw hundreds of people headed his way.
“I lived through 9/11. I was down at the towers when that happened. I lost a friend who was a firefighter. We move up to Newtown and Sandy Hook happens. It’s just, when’s it going to end? I mean when is this crap going to end? It just gets to me.”
Connecticut State Police and several other local departments responded to assist Danbury police. Local, state and federal partners are all assisting with the investigation, which is ongoing.
Anyone with information that can assist with the investigation is urged to contact lead investigator, Detective Carroccio at P.Carroccio@Danbury-CT.gov, the Detective Bureau at 203-797-4662, or the Confidential TIPS line at 203-790-8477.