One suspect arrested in Visalia Mall shooting

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Visalia Police arrested 18-year-old Anthony Hanson early Saturday morning and booked him on attempted murder charges. But soon, he may not be alone. Investigators say they're closing in on at least one more suspect.

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Police lingered at the Visalia Mall Saturday, following up on clues and creating a calmer atmosphere for shoppers after Friday night's chaos.

"Our agency's increasing patrols," said Sgt. Damon Maurice. "Both on foot and in our vehicles throughout the mall as well as to keep the public at ease.

Dozens of officers rushed to the shopping center within minutes of the shooting. After helping the two victims and clearing the mall, they set out to track down the suspects.

Investigators stayed past midnight interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance and by 2 a.m., they'd arrested the first suspect, Anthony Hanson. We're not showing his face because police are still doing photo lineups with witnesses.

Officers say they have some history with Hanson and they know him as a gang member. They believe Hanson's group was targeting rival gang members at the Sweet Factory candy store in the mall. They hit one, but they also hit an innocent bystander. That's the nightmare scenario for the mall and for police -- a scenario they work hard to make sure is extremely rare.

"It is an isolated incident," said Sgt. Damon Maurice. "It doesn't happen every day, but we're trying to do our best to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The innocent bystander was released from the hospital Saturday and Action News exchanged messages with him this afternoon. He said he's keeping a low profile while police continue to investigate. The other victim is now in serious condition at Community Regional Medical Center, but he is expected to survive.

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crimetracker, shooting, visalia, tulare, tulare county, goshen, lemon cove, local
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