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Officials say quick response helped mitigate threat of Westgate shooting

The Westgate retail district is closed off as law enforcement officers gather Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. Police say one person is in critical condition and two others were injured in a shooting 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 — Glendale officials on Thursday credited a quick response from police for helping mitigate the threat of a shooter at Westgate Entertainment District.

Police Sgt. Randy Stewart said officers were on scene within five minutes of the first 911 call about the incident at approximately 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

The suspect, 20-year-old Armando Hernandez Jr., 20, was apprehended without incident shortly after police arrived.

“The immediate response allowed [officers] to quickly secure the scene, which prevented additional people from being affected,” Mayor Jerry Weiers said during a press conference.

Police and fire units from nearby agencies assisted Glendale’s response at the scene, which included immediately providing lifesaving aid to the victims.

Three people were wounded during the shooting, including a 19-year-old male who remains in critical condition, according to Stewart.

The incident shut down Westgate for several hours.

Stewart said authorities weren’t able to clear the area until about midnight, almost five hours after the incident occurred.

Some stores in the entertainment district began reopening Thursday morning.

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.

Weiers called the shooting an isolated incident.

“We have a safe city, we have a wonderful city and we’re going to keep doing that with our police,” Weiers said.

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