WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- The mother of a teenage girl who was wounded in a shooting in the parking lot at Valley Fair Mall Saturday spoke about her daughter and her recovery Sunday.
Police responded to the parking lot at Valley Fair Mall after 14-year-old Shalece Brinkerhoff was shot, and the teen girl was taken to a hospital in critical but stable condition.
Authorities are investigating the possibility the incident may be gang-related, and Stephanie Brinkerhoff said her daughter got caught up in the crossfire. She said she let her daughter go to the mall with friends to watch a movie, and she said from there the teens met up with some other friends.
"...the friends that they did catch up with already had confrontations with other people, and apparently they just got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time," Stephanie Brinkerhoff said “I don’t really know exactly what the target was, but I’m assuming… it was gang-related, but my daughter has never had anything to do with gangs at all, she’s a very good girl.”
Police said Saturday the girl got a call to meet some friends in the parking lot, and they said that's when a confrontation and then the shooting occurred. It was a terrifying experience for Stephanie Brinkerhoff Saturday night.
“Super scary, I was actually driving to a birthday party when this happened,” she said. “And I got a call from her girlfriend, and she just said 'Shalece has been shot’ and I just panicked, I didn’t know what to do. I drove around for 45 minutes before I even knew where she was at.”
The girl was taken to a hospital in critical but stable condition, and Brinkerhoff said her daughter is showing signs of improvement but will be in the hospital for at least 5-10 days.
“Yesterday she was pretty much incoherent, today she’s gotten up twice to walk the hall, and the second time she said was much better than the first, so she’s up and walking," she said.
Brinkerhoff said while her daughter is improving, she remains frightened after what happened.
“She’s very scared, she doesn’t want to be home, she doesn’t want to be at school, she’s just lost right now," she said. "She doesn’t know how, why this happened to her."
Police said Saturday they have identified a male suspect in the shooting, but that person is not in custody and at this point they are not releasing any details about that individual.