WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Two men charged in a fatal Christmas Eve shooting at a shopping mall were ordered held without bond Tuesday, as police tried to determine a motive in the killing that set off panic in stores packed with holiday shoppers.
Jesse Cesar, 21, of Lake Worth, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. Fregens Daniel, 20, of Boynton Beach, is charged with acting as a principal accessory in the case.
The two men were being held at the Palm Beach County jail. They made initial court appearances Tuesday morning, but did not enter pleas.
Cesar is accused of fatally shooting Berno Charlemond, 23, at the Boynton Beach Mall on Sunday afternoon. A police chase ensued inside the mall as Cesar fled and shot at authorities, according to the arrest report.
Police said Cesar fired at least six shots, striking Charlemond in the torso, before he was cornered and arrested inside the mall. Officers did not return fire and no one else was injured.
Authorities were investigating whether the shooting was gang related but have released no details about a motive.
During the shooting, shoppers ducked under tables and ran for cover. The mall was eventually evacuated and remained closed the rest of the day Sunday but reopened Tuesday.
The public defender and state attorney did not return phone messages left Tuesday. Both offices were closed for the holiday.