Witnesses have recounted the scary moments when a former Disney child actor killed his ex-wife inside a California mall.
Police said 33-year-old Kevin Crane walked into a stationary store on Saturday around 2:15 p.m. at The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks, where his ex Parisa Siddiqi worked. He reportedly got into an argument with the woman and shot her in the store before turning the gun on himself.
While 30-year-old Siddiqi died from the shot, Crane remains in critical condition. The couple has two young children together, though they were not present at the time of the attack.
The Ventura County police chief Tim Hagel told local newspaper Thousand Oaks Acorn that the shooting was "a focused attack" on the woman who worked at Paper Source in the outdoor section of the shopping center, but witnesses at the mall describe a vast, chaotic and frightening scene when gunshots rang out.
"All of a sudden we heard people screaming," 19-year-old college student Autumn Montano told the Acorn. "We saw everyone running toward the food court so I just freaked out."
She was near Francesca's on the second floor of the mall, where the assistant manager shut the gate to the store's entry and customers and employees sheltered in the stock room until they were given the all-clear by law enforcement.
"My whole body was shaking and my heart was racing," she said. "I was really very terrified for sure."
Newbury Park resident Jess Weihe, author of the Anonymous Mommy blog, posted live updates online during the incident. She was taking her 3-month-old daughter, Logan, on her first walk around the mall.
Weihe was in White House Black Market on the first floor when the shots were fired, she said. She said the mall became a scene of commotion and people were screaming to hide.
"Everyone started to run," she said. "I think people were obviously very panicked."
Weihe was in the back of the store when the shooting happened and said "there was nowhere to go. I thought if someone were to come in here with a gun, we were sitting ducks."
She said some store patrons hid in the store's dressing rooms to take cover from a potential active shooter.
"But it's just a curtain," she said. "I think people were obviously very panicked."
She said they spent two hours waiting for the store's employees to get an all-clear to leave the store from police. She said employees offered those sheltering in their stock room bottles of water and cookies.
Despite the horrific experience, Weihe said her infant handled the situation well: "She basically slept through the whole thing. She's a little late for her bottle, but other than that, we're OK."
Paper Source, the store where Siddiqi worked, posted a note on their door following the fatal incident on Saturday.
"All of us at Paper Source are sadden[ed] by the loss [of] our beloved colleague and team member. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, and most of all her two children, through this difficult time," the note read.
Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox also released a statement on the shooting late Saturday night.
"On behalf of myself and the entire Thousand Oaks City Council, I extend our deepest condolences to the victim and their families. We are grateful to all that assisted during this tragic event including citizens and first responders. Domestic violence affects more than families, it affects entire communities," he said.
Alleged shooter Crane has been working as a Beverly Hills realtor for some time, but he has claimed to have worked as a child actor for Disney, as well as in the film The Little Giants.
He reportedly had no past history of domestic violence, and friends close to the family were reportedly shocked to hear about what happened.
Investigators recovered a handgun at the scene, and they are searching both Crane and Siddiqi's homes to propose possible motives for the killing.0comments