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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Shoppers are on high alert after a shooting outside of Hanes Mall.

Winston-Salem police say two groups of teens started fighting in the parking lot Saturday night. A gun went off and a bullet grazed the side of one teen’s face. That teen is doing OK and recovering, but the shooting is one of several involving young people that have happened at the popular shopping destination his year.

“You want to take your kid out and have fun, but it’s hard when people are doing things like this in a place like this,” shopper Mya Dang said.

Phone kiosk worker Sohaib Rehman has seen the violence up close. “Fights everyday,” Rehman said. “Security chasing them and can’t catch them. They’re just running around, messing around.”

It’s starting to add up for Winston-Salem police.

“A lot of these times of violence between teens like that it’s not so much about the location as it is about the groups of teens,” Lt. John Morris said.

In 2020 Winston-Salem police officers have responded to four police calls involving gunfire in the area.

“That’s not safe, that’s really not safe,” Dang said.

In January officers responded to two disputes including a shooting that left a teen seriously injured. In July multiple shots were fired near the food court.

“It could be several factors,” Morris said. “It could be they’ve had problems in the past with each other. It could be retaliation for another crime.”

In an effort to prevent crime Hanes Mall is enforcing a Youth Escort Policy. Visitors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult both inside and outside the building from 3 p.m. until close every day. Those who don’t follow this guidance may be prosecuted for trespassing.

A Hanes Malls spokesperson released this statement to FOX8:

“In addition to employing a full-time third-party security provider, we maintain open lines of communication with the Winston Salem Police Department and will continue to do so. Our strong relationship with the WSPD includes having additional police coverage during high traffic times. We evaluate our security measures on an ongoing basis and make adjustments as necessary.”

Winston-Salem police plan to increase patrols in the area closer to Christmas, but it’s not a sign to let your guard down.

“Keep everything locked up. Don’t make yourself an easy target,” Morris said.

“I keep my eyes out for people around me,” Dang said. “I’ve been very cautious.”

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