Norfolk women claim drivers asked to pay for parking at MacArthur Center during shooting, delaying escape

Several people reached out to 13NewsNow claiming drivers begged attendants to open the gates, as panic set in amid the shooting and uncertainty of gunman’s location.

NORFOLK, Va. — Lynda Mitchell and Jennifer Manning recall a stressful 15 minutes trying to exit the MacArthur Center parking garage after three people were shot at the mall Saturday night.

33-year-old Roosevelt McKinney was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Norfolk Police. 

A man and a woman are being treated in a hospital. Both victims were shot in the ankle, and are expected to be recover, said police.  

On Saturday around 6:15 p.m., Mitchell says she was enjoying a pretzel inside the MacArthur Center when she saw a fight break out near the Lids store.

“When things kinda’ started to escalate, I heard a pop and then another pop and then I had to move,” she said.

Mitchell ran to the parking garage where she planned to meet her friend, Manning, on the top level.

“It’s the kind of thing that nightmares are made of,” said Mitchell.

Once she got in her car around 6:20 p.m., Mitchell says they waited roughly five minutes to see if the mall was on lockdown.

Eventually, they drove down to join a line of cars trying to leave.

“There was a shooting, obviously, and everybody knows. And we’re like one gate, one person after another, just like normal,” said Mitchell.

Manning said there were at least four or five cars waiting to pay at each gate, and people were panicking not knowing the gunman’s location or exactly what happened. The women said one man begged parking attendants to just open the gates.

“He was just going with his window open,” said Mitchell. “Just like flashing his money like, ‘Let us out.'”

Mitchell said she handed the attendant a $20 bill for her $1.00 parking ticket.

“He was asking, ‘Do you have any smaller bills that you can pay with?'” Manning said. 

“Let me pay for the next nineteen people. I’m okay with that,” added Mitchell.

Fifteen minutes after Mitchell and Manning got into a car, they recall finally making it through the gate.

Three shootings have taken place at the MacArthur Center since 2019. Manning says she is surprised there was not a better plan in place to help drivers exit quickly. 

“I think it definitely showed a lack of potentially training or procedures in these situations,” said Manning. “Obviously, this is worst case scenario, and nobody wants to have to prepare for these. But especially when there is a history at the mall, there should be something at this point where, ‘Hey if this happens, this is what we need to do.'”

13NewsNow reached out to Spinoso, the company that leases and manages MacArthur Center, to find out what happened in the garage Saturday night and inquire about protocols. We have not heard back.

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