California Woman Shot Dead Inside Kohl's Store, Suspect on the Run

A woman was shot and killed at a Kohl's store in a California mall early on Tuesday evening during an alleged domestic dispute.

Officers found the woman dead inside the department store at the shopping center in Whittier just after 5:30 p.m.

A man and a woman were seen arguing near the cash registers before the man pulled out a gun, shot the woman and fled the scene, police say.

"It appears that a male and a female were in some type of verbal altercation inside of the Kohl's and at some point the male produced a handgun, shot the female and fled the scene," Whittier Officer Hugo Figueroa told reporters at the scene.

#BREAKING - Whittier PD tells @FOXLA that a shooting took place inside of the Kohls off of Whittwood in Whittier around 5:30pm tonight. There is 1 female victim down, no other victims & suspect is believed to have fled. Please avoid the area.

— Alexandria Hernandez (@AlexandriaHrndz) December 23, 2020

In a statement released just after 6 p.m., the Whittier Police Department confirmed they received reports of "shots fired", adding there was a "large police presence" at the Whitwood Town Center. "One gunshot victim has been located," the force added.

The woman, identified only as being 45 years old and Hispanic, died at the scene.

Police believe the shooter knew the victim and had targeted the woman.

"We believe it's a domestic violence case, but we don't know what the relationship between the male and female is," Figueroa said.

Witnesses reported seeing a young boy with the man and woman at the time of the incident.

Family members were said to have picked up the boy, but more details were not provided.

Shooting in #whittier

— Double Deelite (@doubledeelite7) December 23, 2020

Robert Alarcon says he was in the store buying shoes for his child when he heard five loud bangs.

"It was so loud the floor vibrated and at first I'm like maybe someone is doing construction and then next thing you know the lady from Kohl's, she just yells out, 'Run, run, run,'" Alarcon told KTLA.

Others expressed sadness over the timing of the shooting so close to Christmas.

"It's very sad at this time of the year to see something like that happen, especially at Christmas," local resident Angela Matewosian told FOX11 LA.

"She was laying there right by the front door motionless," Jack Matewosian added.

The man fled the scene and is currently on the run.

Aerial footage showed a heavy police presence in the area on Tuesday evening as the department store remained roped off by yellow crime scene tape.

Police have urged people to stay away from the area as the investigation continues.

"It was chaos, from what I understand," Figueroa added. "A lot of people were in panic mode after they heard the gunshot, and saw the victim down on the ground."

Authorities did not immediately disclose the woman's identity.

The suspect is said to be a Hispanic male with a shaved head. The investigation is ongoing as detectives review surveillance footage from inside the store and continue to interview witnesses.

Newsweek has contacted the Whittier Police Department for comment.

File photo: A woman was killed in a shooting at a Kohl’s store in Whittier, California, on Tuesday evening. Diana Haronis/Getty