MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A teenager faces a second-degree murder charge after he shot and killed a man inside a busy southwest Miami-Dade Walmart Wednesday, police said Thursday.
Malachi Allah, 16, also faces charges of carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor and discharging a firearm in public.
Police said Allah and the victim, identified by family members as 19-year-old Noah Perez, got into a verbal argument at the Walmart Supercenter, located in the 21000 block of South Dixie Highway, that escalated into a shootout.
According to a police report, surveillance footage shows Allah pulling a gun from his waistband and firing at the victim, who, despite being critically injured, pulled out his own gun and fired back.
Perez was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The shooting terrified shoppers. Lily Sorzano was shopping near the electronics department and thought it was an active shooter situation.
“I hear five more (gunshots) and I thought, ‘Oh no, that sounds like gunshots,’ and then I told my mom ‘Let’s hide,’” Sorzano said. “I thought, ‘That’s it, they’re going to shoot us up right now.’”
Witness Erika Pozo was eating near the store’s entrance when the gunshots rang out.
“I dropped my sub and ran like hell, got to the parking garage the people around me told me to get down and duck behind cars,” Pozo said.
Officers apprehended Allah several blocks away from the store and took him to Miami-Dade police headquarters, the report states.
Police said Allah confessed to the crime.
Allah told police that he and the victim used to be friends, but had a falling out, the report states. Police said Allah told investigators that he had bumped into him at the store, which led to the argument.
“(Allah) stated that following the argument, he proceeded to walk through the store,” police wrote. “(He) explained that after hearing the victim call his name, he produced a handgun and began to fire at the victim.”
Local 10 News visited the home of the accused shooter. While Allah’s mother wouldn’t come outside, she believes her son was defending himself.
“They threatened Malachi,” she said. “They threatened to kill Malachi on several occasions.”
She described the threats as an “ongoing thing.”
Allah told officers that at the time of the shooting, he did not see the victim holding a weapon, according to the report.
Police took Allah to the Miami-Dade Juvenile Services Division.