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Shoplifting suspects fire at workers

BUFORD - Three suspects believed to be involved in a shoplifting incident that resulted in gunfire Wednesday afternoon at the Mall of Georgia are still at large, while two suspects have been arrested.

The getaway SUV, a stolen 2002 Mercury Mountaineer, was recovered in Atlanta late Wednesday evening, but police are uncertain what means of transportation the three suspects may be using.

The SUV was reported stolen Friday in carjacking in Fulton County, police said.

Cpl. Rob Rude of the Gwinnett County Police Department said all five suspects, described as "young black males," could be juveniles, so no names have been released.

The incident started when the suspects entered the Macy's department store between 2:30 and 3 p.m.

Macy's employees spotted all five suspects inside the store and pursued them out to the parking lot after they allegedly stole merchandise from a clothing rack.

The three suspects who got away ran back to the SUV, and one of them allegedly grabbed a rifle from the vehicle and opened fire on the employees, discharging an undetermined number of bullets, Rude said.

No one was injured during the shooting.

The suspect then fled in the SUV, heading south on I-85.

The suspects at large are considered armed and dangerous.

The two suspects in custody were spotted by a Gwinnett County police officer in the Macy's parking lot heading toward the McDonald's across the street after the shoplifting call was received.

The suspects were taken into custody at the restaurant without incident, and formal charges are still pending.

Rude said the suspects in custody claim to be 16 years old, which as of Wednesday afternoon was being confirmed by police.

Rude said the department is considering the possibility that all of the suspects are juveniles and could be connected to other unsolved shoplifting incidents, as their descriptions match those reported in those particular incidents.

Suspects at large could face charges ranging from shoplifting and aggravated assault to underage possession of a firearm, Rude said.

"There's a whole slew of charges," Rude said.

Security cameras from Macy's, the Mall of Georgia, JCPenney and Dillard's have video camera footage of the suspects, which is being used in the investigation.

As for the employees at Macy's, management would not comment on the incident per corporate instructions.

Anyone with information pertaining to this case is asked to call the Police Department at 770-513-5100.