Augusta Mall shooting: 24-year-old suspect arrested (2024)

By Audrey Dickherber, Craig Allison and Steve Byerly

Published: Apr. 28, 2024 at 2:38 PM EDT|Updated: 19 hours ago

Remembering the victims: Who’s been killed in CSRA slaying surge

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A suspect has been arrested in connection with the Augusta Mall shooting that unfolded over the weekend, according to authorities.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says deputies on Monday found and arrested Tybrea Elester Nicole Nelson, 24, of Martinez, on two counts of aggravated assault for her role in Sunday’s shooting at the Augusta Mall.

She’s not accused of being the shooter but of aiding the shooter, according to arrest warrants for her that were released Tuesday.

According to the arrest warrants, the identity of the shooter was not known – at least as of Monday, when the warrants were issued.

“The accused was present when the unknown individual shot in the direction of the victim multiple times with an unknown make and model firearm,” one of two arrest warrants states. “Following the shooting the accused transported the unknown individual to and unknown location in her vehicle.”

The arrest warrants show that the shooter shot toward a woman but didn’t injure her but did injure a male victim.

The arrest warrants also note that the male victim’s condition was stable as of Monday.

Nelson’s arrest came after deputies released a surveillance image of two people – both apparently women, although it’s hard to tell because of the quality of the image – wanted for questioning in connection with the shooting.

After Nelson’s arrest, deputies canceled the alert asking the public for information about the people in the photo.

Nelson has a criminal record on a range of offenses.

They include a Columbia County charge of shoplifting filed on Feb. 29 and with an arraignment on April 18. Charges in that case include felony and misdemeanor shoplifting, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and driving while license suspended, according to court records.

In Richmond County, she was charged in 2021 with aggravated assault – family violence and pleaded guilty to battery family violence and received probation, according to court records.

In 2019, she was charged with giving a false name and/or date of birth to an officer in Richmond County, and she pleaded guilty and received probation, according to court records.

Other Richmond County offenses included traffic violations.

MORE | Allendale County on edge as shootings kill teen, injure cop and kid

People in Allendale County are on high alert as they cope with a wave of shootings – one that killed a 14-year-old girl, one that injured a police officer in Allendale and one that hurt an 11-year-old.

Augusta Mall shooting: 24-year-old suspect arrested (1)

Deputies said they rushed to the mall on Sunday after the gunfire was reported at 1:43 p.m. at Dillard’s.

Once they got there, the suspect and victim had already left.

The victim drove themselves to a hospital for treatment.

Shoppers either took cover or fled when the shots started.

The terror may haunt some of those people for the rest of their lives – people who feel they’ve lost the sense of safety they once had.

“It’s really unfortunate because we like Augusta and we like doing things here. But it’s not it’s just not as safe as it was,” said Ashley Pon, who was at the mall during the shooting.

We asked the mall management about the security situation, and Brookfield Properties told us:

“Dillard’s operates independently and has their own security and operations, so we aren’t able to comment on this incident.”

MORE | High court upholds ex-firefighter’s conviction in toddler death

The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the conviction of former firefighter and EMT Charles Michael Sconyers for killing his girlfriend’s nearly 2-year-old son in Columbia County.

Augusta Mall shooting: 24-year-old suspect arrested (2)

We found multiple malls owned by Brookfield Properties do have license plate-reading cameras in their parking lots, but don’t have a publicly posted plan in place for other security measures.

Places like Stonecrest Mall, owned by a different company in the metro Atlanta area, have security robots.

Regardless, the Augusta Mall owners say they are thankful for “PD and our security partners for swiftly handling the situation.”

It was a situation that shocked many shoppers.

“It was surreal. The whole thing’s surreal,” said Oscar Maldonado, who was at the mall when the drama erupted. “It’s kind of like when you see that happen in a movie – it kind of felt like what you see in a movie.”

Some shoppers hid in dressing rooms, while others ran.

Oscar and Kristina Maldonado took cover until they felt it was safe, then ran for the exit, like many other shoppers.

And while the victim’s wounds may heal, the trauma is something that may stick with the shoppers for the rest of their lives.

“We’re shopping around, and then all of a sudden, we hear screaming and then we look out the window, and everyone is just running super fast,” Pon said.

Fear, panic and confusion are only some of the things people were feeling as the mall erupted in what they say was “chaotic.”

I-TEAM | Silent alarms within the Augusta Fire Department

What happens when you call 911 for a fire emergency? The I-TEAM is continuing to dig deeper into Augusta’s 911 center and emergency response throughout Richmond County.

Augusta Mall shooting: 24-year-old suspect arrested (3)

“We heard what sounded like just a pop sound, like a couple pops. And it just, it was like the mall all sudden just got quiet there for a second. And it was like, I guess we were all trying to process was that what we actually heard,” said Kristina Maldonado.

One Facebook user posted video showing people yelling as they ran through the food court to get away from the gunfire – dropping their soft drinks to spill on the floor.

“Oh, they’re shooting! Oh, they’re shooting!” Benny Loiseau said in his Facebook video as the crowd ran. A child could be heard screaming in the background, with an authoritative voice yelling, “Go!”

Shoppers told News 12 they hunkered down in department store dressing rooms, hid in the back of stores and ducked under tables in the food court.

“Because of my niece being in a wheelchair, we can’t run as fast and with everybody running we were afraid of being trampled,” Kristina Maldonado said.

Once they thought it was safe enough to run, they left and helped other people out, too.

“It was like a tidal wave of people started running from the Dillard’s and the old Sears area towards the food court. And as they’re running past us, we could hear people saying that there’s a shooting,” she said.

Augusta Mall shooting: 24-year-old suspect arrested (4)

But while all of this was happening, in other parts of the mall people were still trying to come in, not knowing what was happening.

“Nobody really knew what was going on. People were running around, there were babies, families, but there was no direction. There was no plan. Nobody knew what was going on. I did see one security officer. He was pretty just, you know, he’s walking around and we’re like, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And just he’s just like, ‘nothing,’” said Pon.

At the scene, we saw eight Richmond County Sheriff’s Office vehicles and two Central EMS ambulances with lights flashing.

The mall was quickly shut down but reopened Monday.

MORE | Teacher’s family has new filing in suit over death by utility pole

The family of the Wagener-Salley High School teacher has a new filing in their lawsuit after she was killed by a falling utility pole.

Augusta Mall shooting: 24-year-old suspect arrested (5)

After the incident, many, like Pon, worried whether the mall will be safe to come back to.

Sheriff’s Lt. Robbie Silas called the shooting an isolated incident and said investigators are actively looking for the suspect.

Sunday’s shooting wasn’t the first at the mall.

On Oct. 3, 2020, one person was killed in a shooting at the mall. Tony Rodrequez Burton, of Augusta, was found guilty in October 2023 of two counts of voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony,

That shooting also prompted a lawsuit by an employee who claimed the mall failed to keep the premises safe.

In June 2022, someone displayed a gun during an altercation in the food court. No shots were fired, and no one was injured.

Augusta Mall shooting: 24-year-old suspect arrested (6)

Sunday’s incident comes amid an outbreak of violent crime that’s claimed more than 150 lives across the CSRA in two years. It’s affected communities large and small on both sides of the Savannah River. But as the largest city in the region, Augusta has been hit especially hard.

Authorities have blamed much of the problem on gangs, and many of the victims as well as the suspects have been young men.

Copyright 2024 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

Augusta Mall shooting: 24-year-old suspect arrested (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated:

Views: 5556

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.