"I think that helped a lot. He is a good person, I think. I don’t know what he did before, but at that moment, he is the one that should be - he is a hero," Hana Ali, a witness of the incident at the Park City Center Mall in Lancaster, told WGAL.
The shooting unfolded Sunday at the Lancaster mall when a 16-year-old suspect reportedly got into a fight with another person and pulled a gun. The teen fired several shots, while multiple people struggled over getting the gun, police said.
"It reminds me of the Desert Storm war when I was there. It was awful. The sounds of shooting, it’s really bringing things back to you. It’s so terrifying," Ali, a native of Iraq, added.
Police said that the armed bystander then got involved with the fight.
"The armed bystander then engaged the subjects fighting over the gun and fired shots, striking one of the suspects. The [struggle] ended and the bystander waited at the scene until officers from the Lancaster City Police and Park City Security arrived and took control of the scene," the Lancaster Bureau of Police said in an update on the shooting.
Three men and one woman, including the teenage suspect, were treated for non-life- threatening injuries, according to police. Two women also suffered minor injuries while leaving the mall.
The Lancaster County District Attorney's office is investigating the bystander's actions. The mall prohibits weapons, and police said the bystander was released after an interview on what happened.
The investigation into the matter is ongoing. Formal charges against the 16-year-old are pending.
A similar incident unfolded earlier this year at a mall in Nebraska. A father shopping with his family pulled out his concealed carry weapon to protect his loved ones and others while a fatal shooting unfolded.
"Every indication said our lives were in danger, and I was going to do everything in my power to make sure we got out of there OK," Scott Tafoya said of the April shooting.
"I knew that if I ever pulled that out, it would truly be a life-and-death situation, and I would deal with the consequences later," he added at the time.