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The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

Two arrested in wake of Gardens Mall shooting

Addison Gload

A shooting occurred at the Palm Beach Gardens Mall on Wed., Feb. 14th, leading to panic and confusion among observers and their families.

Reports of possible shots near the west end of the mall were called in around 2:36 p.m. Alexia Bolt, who was walking past the elevators in the food court, recalls her experience. 

“My husband, my son and I, all three of us heard the gunshots,” Bolt said. “They sounded distant but we clearly heard them.”

Following the gunshots, shoppers rushed to get to an exit or safe area within the mall. 

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“I would say roughly 200 people or more exited out of those doors within one minute, so it was very crammed,” Bolt said. “No one was screaming around us, but there was a sense of urgency.”

Police were quick to respond by shutting off all exits and entrances to the mall at around 2:40 p.m. During the time of the lockdown, the Gardens Police posted brief updates on X (formerly known as Twitter) as they searched for possible suspects. Local police officers from Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Palm Beach County, North Palm Beach and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) quickly came to assist.

“We were just about to enter the parking lot of the food court and a cop stopped by the entrance and walked out with a weapon, so we drove away,” Emily Canastuj-Trejo, junior, said. “[Afterwards] we kept refreshing our local news like every five minutes.”

The police later confirmed that the shooting was not an active shooter situation but rather a targeted attack. Now, police believe the incident was a result of a gang conflict.

“I didn’t learn the details of what had happened until the next day, but I had sort of pieced it together the day it had happened,” Liam Thompson said. 

Thompson, a store manager at a shop at the mall, was at the food court at the time of the shooting. 

“It was a surreal moment as the first thing that goes through your head is an active shooter, but due to how far the shots were and the fact that there were so few of them, I just grabbed my things and walked to the front,” Thompson said. 

Kemarcio Antonio Mitchell, who was shot, was arrested on Feb. 16 for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. The shooter, Devon Jamal Graham, was arrested on Feb. 20 in Boynton Beach after a police pursuit. 

“I think it was very sad to hear about, especially on that date,” Canastuj-Trejo said. 

The shooting happened on the anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, where 17 students and staff were killed. It also comes in the wake of a shooting in Kansas City, Mo., in which 22 people were shot. Mass shootings have become of increased concern in recent years, with the Gun Violence Archive recording 656 mass shootings in 2023. 

“I personally feel safe at Jupiter High School, but just that incident and other things related, it’s very sad to see,” Canastuj-Trejo said. 

In the wake of increased shootings, many schools are starting to take precautions such as metal detectors in order to decrease the risk of firearms being brought into school. Individuals should also educate themselves on what to do in the case of a mass shooter situation. 

“Probably the scariest part of the situation for me was seeing that people didn’t know how to handle the situation,” Thompson said. “I had to usher multiple people out as they were trying to accomplish mundane tasks like clearing their table or organizing their purse before leaving.”

The increase in shootings in recent years has also led to public awareness of the potential of shootings to occur. This is also shown by the response of those in and around the mall this Valentine’s day. 

“I Immediately said, ‘what’s happening? This is scary. We need to leave,’” Canastuj-Trejo said.

Overall, the situation has left locals shaken up but grateful that no bystanders were harmed.  

“We’re thankful it was not a mass shooting and yes, it was a scary event and very unpredictable but we think the mall security people overall did a good job with closing their doors and protecting their customers,” Bolt said.

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About the Contributor
Addison Gload, Media Manager and School News Editor
Addison Gload, junior, is the Media Manager and School News Editor for the Jupiter War Cry, having joined her sophomore year. Gload is always looking for new information to share with her peers; she enjoys being able to make school news known and sharing the ins and outs of what is happening. As a Fla. native, Gload takes part in clubs and leadership positions such as, Historian of Student Government Association and Parliamentarian of the Class of 2025 and now as a manager and editor in War Cry. “I like the class dynamic. [The staff] is really nice and sweet and helpful,” Gload said. “I also like being able to write and being on the website and being proud of what I put out and have other people be able to read it and learn from it.” Gload enjoys pursuing her passion for photography and being able to catalog wonderful memories through pictures. “I kind of started more in ninth grade when I took Media Studies, and they taught us how to photograph and then I’ve just been doing it on my own a little but I found that it's really fun to take really pretty pictures and seeing it again in the end,” Gload said.

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