BUFORD - Two of the five male juveniles believed to be involved in a shoplifting incident at the Mall of Georgia Wednesday have been formally charged, and authorities could be closer to arresting the three suspects still at large.
All five suspects are believed to have stolen merchandise from a clothing rack inside Macy's.
Macy's employees witnessed the thefts and pursued them out to the parking, where a short scuffle ended in the suspects breaking free and at least one of them firing a rifle.
The three wanted suspects fled south on Interstate 85 in a stolen 2002 white Mercury Mountaineer and evaded police. The Mountaineer was reported stolen in a Sept. 1 carjacking in Fulton County.
The suspects later ditched the stolen vehicle in Atlanta.
Some of the suspects could be involved in other recent area thefts, but nothing as of Friday had been confirmed.
Two of the five suspects, who are both 15 years old, were arrested at a nearby restaurant shortly after the incident occurred.
Both are charged with five counts of party to the crime of aggravated assault, as there were five security guards or Macy's employees pursuing the three wanted suspects when the rifle was fired, said Cpl. Lou Gregoire of the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Gregoire said the mother of one of the juveniles told a TV news station at a detention hearing that she knew the identities of the three wanted suspects, Gregoire said.
She said one of the juveniles had a handcuff still attached where a security guard tried to take him into custody.
Another suspect sustained an injury as the result of a blow to the head by another security guard, she added.
Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department, said Friday afternoon that the three suspects had not been arrested.
Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Sandra Cook said the attorneys for the two juveniles in custody entered pleas of not guilty at the detention hearing. A trial date of
Oct. 4 has been set.