HOOVER, Ala. – A man opened fire inside a crowded Alabama mall ahead of Black Friday after getting into a fight with another shopper. Two people were injured, including a 12-year-old girl, before police killed him.

The gunfire erupted just after 9:50 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at Riverchase Galleria in the town of Hoover, about 10 miles from Birmingham, local reports said.

Police said the shooting frenzy began after two men got into a fight outside a Foot Action shoe store. During the confrontation, one of the men pulled out a gun and shot the other.

“We received a call of shots fired outside of Foot Action,” said Hoover Police Capt. Gregg Rector, AL.com reported. “We already had multiple officers working at the mall for traffic control and police presence inside.”

The gunshots sent shoppers seeking shelter and several police officers were responded with their weapons drawn.

The wounded 18-year-old male was rushed to a nearby hospital in serious condition, AL.com reported. The 12-year-old girl was rushed to the children’s hospital and is believed to be alert and conscious.

The gunman fled the area before he was confronted by Hoover police officers.

“One of our officers did engage that individual and shot him,’’ Rector said. “He was dead on the scene. … We know the deceased was armed with a handgun and we know he shot the person who was transported (to the hospital).”

The gunman was not been identified as of Friday morning. He is believed to be a 21-year-old from Hueytown.

UPDATE: Police now believe the person shot and killed was not the gunman responsible for shooting two people in the mall. Read details here.    

Lexi Joiner, who was at the mall at the time of the shooting, told the newspaper that she heard six gunshots and was ordered into a supply closet for cover with other shoppers.

“This was my first Black Friday, I knew it would be crazy, just not this crazy,” she said.

Per normal protocol, the police officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation into the shooting.

“I just started praying. Praying that God would give the police wisdom and accuracy of shot.”

– Derby Woods, witness

While the Riverchase Gallery briefly closed its doors after the shooting, mall security said Friday morning it will reopen.

“We are devastated by the incident that happened tonight in our shopping center,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We are working closely with the Hoover Police Department and are grateful for their swift action to contain the situation.”

“It was crazy in every direction,” witness Derby Woods said. “I just started praying. Praying that God would give the police wisdom and accuracy of shot, protect the victims.”

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will lead the investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

“We want it to paint a very clear picture of what happened tonight,” Rector said.

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis called the mall one of the safest shopping destinations but added that violence may occur occasionally when there are thousands of people in one venue.

“If you look nationally at all nonsense, and I call it nonsense, that happens, for some reason, people think that when they engaged in some sort of altercation, it’s Ok to pull out a gun and shoot somebody. It’s not,’’ Derzis said.

Officials said there had been extra officers at the mall Thursday night as a precaution. Mayor Frank Brocato praised the police response, suggesting they may have saved others from injury, the New York Times reported.

“You just don’t bring guns into a crowded mall,” he said.

Rector said police had a solid protection plan for the Galleria beginning Thanksgiving night, as they do every year. “This is a big shopping day for us as it is for everybody across the country,’’ Rector said. “We always gear up for extra manpower starting on Thanksgiving afternoon, we do that throughout Christmas.”

“Obviously our officers are well-trained and they go through different types of training throughout the year and they always do a good job responding,’’ he said. “We were fortunate enough to have two officers near an active shooting scene and those officers rushed to that scene and encountered an individual who just shot someone, so we were fortunate that Hoover officer was where he needed to be and we believe he prevented further injuries.”

Rector said it is always a tough situation when an officer has to shoot someone. “It’s obviously going to be a difficult situation and we’re fortunate it’s something that doesn’t happen often,’’ he said.

Thursday wasn’t the first time the Galleria has dealt with chaotic disturbances during busy shopping hours. Last Thanksgiving, Hoover police responded to reports of a fight in a store.

Reports of gunshots quickly spread, but they were deemed false and no one was shot.

UPDATE: Police now believe the person shot and killed was not the gunman responsible for shooting two people in the mall. Read details here.