SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The Seminole Towne Center in Sanford was placed on lock down late Monday, following a shooting in the parking lot, police say. That shooting victim is said to be 19-year-old Ja'vonte Washington.
There was a large police presence at the shopping center just before 10 p.m. as officers searched the area for the suspected shooter, identified as Lewis Thomas Boone. Many people remained inside the mall while the search was underway.
Investigators say, around 7:30 p.m., that Washington was involved in a verbal altercation with Boone. As the argument escalated, Boone fired at Washington and then fled. Washington was shot multiple times in the parking lot outside of Burlington Coat Factory. He was transported to a hospital and is said to be in stable condition.
Witnesses told officers that Boone fled in a newer, black, four-door car and that a group of people believed to be accompanying the shooter ran inside the mall, possibly to hide from law enforcement.
Officers were systematically searching each store in the mall. They are continuing to search for Boone into Monday, as he is wanted for Attempted First Degree Premeditated Homicide and Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Anyone wishing to report information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Sanford Police Department or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS or visit www.crimeline.org.
No other shots were reported to have been fired. Police believe Boone knew the victim.
Sanford Police Chief says that he is "proud of the men and women who serve the Sanford Police Department. The joint effort shown tonight is a depiction of what is necessary to identify individuals who commit crimes like this. This act of violence is senseless and my officers will remain vigilante and dedicated in finding this known suspect and bring him to justice."