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Glendale police identify Westgate shooting suspect; 3 injured

The Westgate retail district is closed off Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. Police say one person is in critical condition and two others were injured in a shooting Wednesday evening near the shopping and entertainment district west of Phoenix. A Glendale police spokeswoman said Wednesday that the suspect was taken into custody safely. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — A shooting at the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale on Wednesday night injured three people, and a suspect was in custody, authorities said.

Police on Thursday identified Armando Hernandez Jr., 20, of Peoria as the suspect in the shooting near Dave and Buster’s.

Two of the victims were taken to a hospital. A 19-year-old man was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, and a 16-year-old girl had injuries not considered life-threatening, police said Thursday.

A 30-year-old woman was treated at the scene for an unspecified injury.

Armando Hernandez Jr.

Armando Hernandez Jr. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Photo)

Some bullets struck the Yard House restaurant. The shooting had ended by the time police arrived, police spokeswoman Officer Tiffany Ngalula said in an email.

Hernandez was taken into custody without incident, police said, and a black assault rifle was recovered.

He told police he gave up when he saw officers responding and admitted he was the shooter, Glendale Police Sgt. Randy Stewart said during a press briefing Thursday.

Hernandez was booked on 14 charges, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office: five counts of discharging a firearm in city limits, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of aggravated assault causing serious physical injury and one count each of criminal damage, recklessly damaging utility property and disorderly conduct with a weapon.

He told detectives he went to Westgate to harm 10 victims and scouted the sprawling complex before going back to his car to retrieve a weapon, Stewart said.

“He wanted to gain some respect, and he felt that he had been bullied in his life,” Stewart said.

Hernandez requested a public defender during his initial appearance in court Thursday, where bond was set at $1 million. His next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, was set for May 28.

Glendale police said they were aware of video of the incident that the suspect posted to social media.

As part of the ongoing investigations, they asking the public to submit any firsthand photos or videos to an online portal.

Around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued a press release in which he stated his office is monitoring developments surrounding the shooting and ready to offer assistance.

“As we learn additional details, the state is here to continue to offer its full support to the victims and to the community,” he said.

It was initially reported by authorities that one victim sustained a gunshot wound to the chest and another victim sustained a gunshot wound to the leg.

Arizona state Sen. Martín Quezada tweeted that he was at Westgate on Wednesday night and saw the shooter and two victims.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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