Police: Towson Town Center Shooting Not A Random Act

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Steve Fermier, Jenny Glick, and WBAL TV

Baltimore County police said Tuesday that Monday’s fatal shooting in the parking lot of Towson Town Center was “absolutely” not a random act.

Meanwhile, mall officials said they are cooperating with police on the investigation.

Authorities identified the victim of the shooting as 19-year-old Rodney Pridget. The incident occurred about 6:30 p.m. Monday outside a building that was filled with holiday shoppers.

Pridget was in court in September, where he received probation before judgment in a case involving the theft of a PlayStation from a private home, said 11 News I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller. Pridget’s lawyer said the victim grew up in foster care and was a good kid who was making progress.

Investigators said they don’t know who shot Pridget but said he was a target. The shooting happened outside the east side of Nordstrom.

“We know now, based on the investigation so far, this absolutely was not a random act of violence,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson. “This was absolutely not a robbery.”

Pridget was shot and killed on a sidewalk outside the mall. Police are using surveillance cameras to gather leads. No motive has been mentioned by authorities, who suggested there was some kind of acquaintance between Pridget and the suspect.

“We know that the victim and the suspect were in the mall prior to the shooting,” Johnson said.

A reporter asked Johnson, “Was there any indication inside the mall, according to witnesses or video, that they were in any kind of altercation, dispute, argument?”

Johnson said, “I can’t answer that at this time.”

The shooting happened despite the usual beefed-up holiday police presence at the mall. Shoppers told Miller on Tuesday they were relieved to hear the shooting wasn’t random, but they still expressed concern.

“My son and I walk over to the mall all the time,” said shopper Abber Knott. “And we’re always looking to make sure everything is OK.”

The mall’s general manager released a statement Tuesday that said: “The safety and security of our shoppers, retailers and employees are our top concerns every day, not just when incidents occur. We are thankful for the cooperation and support of the Baltimore County Police Department on property (Monday) night, and throughout their investigation of this incident.

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