Authorities respond to public call for more security at UP Mall
"I know that there have been other malls within the Indiana Michigan area that have offered for police to have small substations within their malls." Green said.
Security experts and police said the mall having a police substation there may not have prevented Saturday's deadly shooting.
"In the past, I would say yes, it probably would have maybe been more of a hindrance, but now, people don't seem to have respect for life, respect for law enforcement," ABC57 Security Expert Josh Gobel said. "So, I don't know if it would have made a difference or not. You would like to think it would have, but I can't say with certainty that it would have."
Mishawaka Police Lieutenant (Lt.) Tim Williams said he agrees.
"We could have officers inside the mall there," Williams said. "They could be at the other end. Again, it's an isolated incident. We cannot be everywhere at once."
Williams said there are already off-duty police officers who work part-time for mall security. He said if the mall approached the department about increasing police presence there, the department would be happy to help.
"That would be something that would be discussed with our chiefs," Williams said. "Our chiefs would make that decision. I wouldn't see any reason why we wouldn't want to lend a hand to any business in our community that's asking for extra help in making sure that their establishments are safe."
Williams and Gobel said there is not a single right answer for preventing violence at a public facility like UP Mall.
"Something that size with that many people, it sure does make sense to have armed police officers there for an event like this," Gobel said. "With that being said, you can't have a police officer everywhere, and it's unfortunate that evil exists and that this can happen on a Saturday afternoon where people are just out and enjoying life."
Both Williams and Gobel said the ability to prevent violence in public places like University Park Mall lies with the public itself.
"I think that goes back to being a part of a free society," Gobel said. "We have the right to bear arms. I know that the mall is a gun free zone, but to second amendment folks nothing is a gun free zone. They're going to protect themselves at all times and at all costs. So, part of being in a free society is abiding by and following rules and laws."
"We'd like to see this gun violence stop," Williams said. "We are losing too many lives to gun violence. So, we want to work with our community to provide a safe community."
Williams said investigators are working with mall store owners, asking them for any surveillance footage of Saturday's shooting. He said Police are urging anyone with any information on what led to the deadly shooting on Saturday to contact either the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit or Michiana Crime Stoppers.
Simon Properties, the corporate owner of University Park Mall, was not available for comment.