Concord Police Chief Gary Gacek

CONCORD — Crowds dispersed as a report of gunshots was quickly spread throughout social media and Concord Mills Mall.

It turned out that 13-year-old Aveanna Propst was shot and killed after an altercation at the mall Dec. 28. Two other juveniles were wounded in the shooting in the parking lot at Dave & Buster’s, but survived.

Eighteen-year-old Dontae Milton-Black and a 15-year-old have since been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

That shooting, coupled with an attack and robbery in the mall’s parking lot near Burlington Coat Factory, prompted questions in regard to safety, security and whether the mall should have a curfew.

The Independent Tribune’s partners at WSOC-TV in Charlotte discussed all those topics with Concord police Chief Gary Gacek.

Gacek told WSOC-TV that about 17 million people visit Concord Mills Mall yearly, and that crime there isn’t as bad as it appears.

According to statistics, there was one robbery at Concord Mills in 2017, one in 2018 and two in 2019. As far as reported gunshots, there were two in 2017, one in 2018 and five in 2019.

“Concord Mills corridor is extremely safe in terms of the crime stats,” Gacek told WSOC-TV.

When it comes to a curfew or parental-escort policy, Gacek told WSOC-TV that the Concord Police Department is willing and ready to assist, but ultimately that is the mall’s decision.

“It needs to be effective if there is going to be one,” he said.

“It needs to be enforceable if there’s going to be one. I stand willing, ready and able to assist the mall if that’s the decision that they want to make.”

The police chief said statistics show that, ultimately, Concord Mills Mall is a safe place for visitors.

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