At about 2pm Thursday afternoon, thousands ran out of the Northlake Mall fearing for their lives after hearing gunshots.
An off-duty Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer working security at the mall responded to the gunfire, which happened during a fight between two groups.
"When he got to that location, he confronted the armed subject, who according to witnesses and information we're getting, pointed a gun at the officer,” said Putney.
That's when Chief Kerr Putney says the officer shot 18-year-old Daquan Antonio Westbrook
Additional off-duty officers showed up and tried to help Westbrook but he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The mall was evacuated immediately and more officers arrived as backup, as initial reports came in of a possible active shooter.
"The scale of the situation at the time when it comes in and people perceive it as an active shooter we're going to move all possible potential victims out of harm’s way and that's why that decision was made."
Chief Putney says the shooting turned out to be an isolated incident. "I want to tell the public emphatically this is not a random act of violence. This was between two parties that had some beefing back and forth and it happened to happen at Northlake Mall."
Chief Putney believes it was the immediate action of the officers that potentially saved the lives of countless others during one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
"We responded accordingly and I have to really thank those heroes for doing so."