The man apparently confronted the woman as she was opening the security gate over the store in the Greenspoint Mall, a few miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, said Houston Police Lt. Albert Mihalco. The store showed signs that the two struggled before the woman was shot in the head.
The man apparently killed himself, Mihalco said.
According to the Greenspoint Management District, the situation started when the boyfriend of the female mall employee called, threatening to harm her. The woman, who worked at Body Luxuries, called mall security, but her boyfriend arrived before security could get there, CBS News affiliate KHOU reports.
Once he confronted the woman inside the store, the man pulled the security gate back down, barricading themselves inside, said Jocklynn Keville of the Greenspoint Management District.
Most stores were still closed when police received a report of a shooting just before 10 a.m. According to KHOU, witnesses reported hearing two gunshots.
Mall employee Deborah White said she was about to raise the security gate that covered the Ashley Stewart store where she worked when a security guard ran down the mall corridors, pounding on gates and doors and telling everyone to evacuate.
"I just left my coat and got out," White said. About a dozen people left the mall with her, mostly store employees, she said.