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Shooting shocks shoppers at Chambersburg Mall

April 25, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A woman shot a man twice inside Chambersburg Mall on Saturday afternoon, just yards away from where a group of children were participating in a reading program, according to police and witnesses.

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The woman pulled a handgun from her coat pocket and fired it twice at the man, believed to be her ex-husband, while he standing in front of the Bon Ton store, according to Pennsylvania State Police and witnesses.

The man fell to the floor and began crawling toward the store, witnesses said.

Some shoppers gathered around the man, while others fled.

Store workers praised mall security director Kevin Miller, who walked up to the woman and convinced her to hand the gun to him.

"He could have been shot. I thought she was just going to start turning around and shooting anyone at all. It was unreal," said Roy Ingram, whose Electrolux vacuum shop is located across from where the shooting occurred.

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Steve Moraites, 44, of 806 Woodland Circle, Chambersburg, was taken to Chambersburg Hospital and then flown to York Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition in the intenstive care unit Saturday evening, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Valerie Jean Moraites, 42, of 940 Stouffer Ave., Apt. 1, Chambersburg, was charged with criminal attempted murder, criminal attempted homicide and aggravated assault, state police said.

Valerie Moriates was being held Saturday night in Franklin County Prison on $500,000 bond, state police said.

Police could not offer a motive for the shooting.

Officials did not close the mall following the shooting, which occurred about 1:30 p.m. An area in front of the Bon Ton was cordoned off with yellow police tape while officers inspected the shooting scene.

Shoppers walked back and forth past the restricted area as police officers worked.

Donald Newell, who comes to the mall almost every weekend, said he could not believe such an attack occurred inside the shopping center.

"I can't understand why they want to bring it out in the public like this. There's so much of a chance of an innocent bystander being hurt," said Newell.

The shooting occurred near a main entrance where a reading program was being conducted, said Ingram. Six women were taking turns reading aloud to about 20 small children on a stage decorated with balloons, Ingram said.

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