Student charged in US mall shootings; 2 wounded

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Police interview people outside New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg, Va. on Friday, April 12, 2013. Officials say two women have been shot at the community college section of the mall and a suspect is in custody. AP

CHRISTIANSBURG, Virginia — An 18-year-old college student was charged Friday with shooting and wounding two women at a mall branch of a southwest Virginia community college before he was subdued, the city’s police chief said.

Neil Allan MacInnis faces two counts each of malicious wounding and using a firearm in the commission of a felony stemming from the shooting at the satellite campus of New River Community College at New River Valley Mall, Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson said Friday night.

MacInnis, who was a student at the community college, was being held without bond at the Montgomery County Jail.

Sisson said authorities were still trying to establish a motive and any connection between MacInnis and the victims, who were hospitalized following the shooting in this town of approximately 21,000, less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech.

He said authorities are investigating online postings allegedly made by MacInnis prior to the Friday shooting but that he was unable to confirm whether those postings were legitimate.

The type of weapon, how it was obtained and how many shots were fired during the incident were not being released due to the ongoing investigation, Sisson said.

The police chief also said MacInnis participated in the Christiansburg Police Department Citizens Academy program in 2012. The 12-week course gives citizens an idea what happens at the department on a typical day, according to a press release seeking participants for the free program. Participants are able to get a chance to ride along with police officers, tour the officers’ training facility and practice with firearms at the firing range, the news release said.

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