BOYNTON BEACH — There was an argument, a shoving match and then gunfire at a mall on Christmas Eve. One man was dying in front of a record store and last-minute shoppers fled while the bullets were still flying.From the Post's reporting, it seems very lucky there was only one person shot. I guess those present yesterday can count it as a Christmas gift not to have been hurt or wounded though I doubt very many do.
As the gunman fired at responding officers, police chased him from one end of the Boynton Beach Mall to the other. He was finally cornered in the Women's department of Dillard's and arrested by the SWAT team, said Boynton Beach Police Lt. Jeff Katz.
Shoppers dropped their bags and ran for the doors or hit the floor. Children were trampled. Stores quickly closed their gates, but some stayed open long enough to ring up the last line of customers.
Some of Dillard's employees were locked in a room for more than an hour, then walked out with their hands up, escorted by officers with their guns drawn.
One of the employees, still wearing his nametag and shaking so bad he could barely walk straight, said, "We were locked in a room. Did you see them bring us out?"
About 2 p.m., Margaret Phillips saw the suspect -- wearing all black -- cussing and acting erratically in the infant's section on the upper level of Macy's over a receipt.
"This guy was irate, crazy," Phillips said.
About 20 minutes later, she said, the same man was in an argument with a group of other people outside of J.C. Penney. Witnesses said it started as a shoving match, and that the two men appeared to know each other.
Police late Sunday identified the gunman as 21-year-old Jesse Cesar of Lake Worth.
Cesar fired at Berno Charlemond, 23, of Boynton Beach, striking him several times, killing him, Katz said.
No one else was hurt, Katz said. Witnesses reported hearing four or five shots.
Cesar has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder of a police officer.
Phillips heard the commotion and ran from Macy's into the mall, where she saw a man lying face-up next to the record store outside of J.C. Penney. He was shaking, his blood-stained white T-shirt pulled up as rescuers tried to perform CPR, she said.
Officers shouted to the crowd of onlookers, "Get down." That's when they dropped or scattered, she said. She said she sought refuge in a clothing store with about 50 other people, and tried to comfort a toddler who was shoved to the ground in the mad dash.
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