Police: Man charged in shooting at South Shore Plaza accused woman of being gang member before opening fire

BRAINTREE, MASS. (WHDH) - The 21-year-old Boston man who wounded a teenage girl, triggered a lockdown, and prompted a shelter-in-place order at South Shore Plaza in Braintree on Friday opened fire following an argument with a woman who he suspected to be a gang member, authorities said.

Jose Rodriguez was arraigned Monday morning via a video conference in Quincy District Court on charges including assault to murder, assault and battery by discharge of firearm, assault and battery on child with substantial injury, reckless endangerment of a child, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a firearm without an FID card, unlawful possession of ammunition, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and trespassing with a firearm, according to the Braintree Police Department.

A judge has since ordered Rodriguez held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.

Officers responding to a report of shots fired inside the plaza on Granite Street around 4:45 p.m. observed blood and broken glass on the ground inside Nordstrom’s before finding a 15-year-old bystander in the restroom suffering from non-life-threatening wounds to her hand and chest, according to a police report.

The girl, who police say was “simply spending time at the mall,” was taken by ambulance to Boston Medical Center.

Former Marine Josh Ackles, who recorded video of the glass and blood, told 7NEWS that he ran to help law enforcement.

“My Marine Corps training kicked in and I just ran into the mall,” Ackles recalled.

After speaking with three women at the scene, officers said they learned that Rodriguez had approached one of them while they waited in line at Expressions and stated, “Hey, ain’t you from Heath Street?” In response, the woman allegedly said, “I don’t have time for this, get out of my face.”

Rodriguez, who was said to be with two other men and a woman pushing a child in a stroller, allegedly punched the woman during a brawl that ensued. He then pulled out a black handgun and fired about four shots, according to the report.

The woman who was questioned by Rodriguez later admitted to being associated with the Heath Street gang and confirmed that the group had opened fire before fleeing in the direction of Macy’s, police said. Another woman is said to have told officers that Rodriguez had left behind a black Milwaukee Brewers hat, which is sometimes associated with the Mission Hill street gang.

A Braintree police K9 found Rodriguez hiding in the woods across from the shopping center shortly after 6 p.m. He was hospitalized with a minor injury before being booked at the Braintree Police Department.

Videos that started circulating on social media showed Rodriguez “retrieving and raising” a firearm during the altercation, according to police. Investigators later recovered a black bag in a mall parking garage containing a 9mm firearm that Rodriguez had apparently ditched as he ran off.

“People were coming up saying, ‘I have video and I have pictures,'” Braintree Deputy Police Chief Michael Want said. “We were passing that on to dispatch to get it out to responding officers.”

Braintree Mayor Charles Konoros announced Monday that the city will take steps to tighten security at the mall.

“We will enhance our security at the South Shore plaza. We have the right police department to do that,” Konoros said during a news conference. “If you’re a bad guy, don’t come to the plaza because we’re going to catch you.”

Rodriguez is due back in court on July 10.

An investigation remains ongoing.

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