Gunman Opens Fire At NY Mall

A 24-year-old man was arraigned Monday on assault charges after he allegedly opened fire in a crowded shopping mall, wounding two people and sending shoppers scrambling for safety.

Robert Bonelli was arraigned shortly before 1 a.m. in Ulster Town Court on first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, according to Brian Woltman, a dispatcher for the Town of Ulster Police Department.

Bonelli, of nearby Saugerties, was being held in Ulster County Jail without bail pending a town court appearance on Wednesday, Woltman said.

According to police, Bonelli opened fire with an assault-type rifle Sunday afternoon inside the Best Buy tore in the Hudson Valley Mall, just outside Kingston, about 90 miles) north of New York City.

After firing several shots, he made his way into the mall corridor and continued shooting until running out of ammunition near the center court, witnesses said. He then laid down the weapon and was tackled by two mall workers, police said.

State police Capt. Wayne Olson said investigators did not know the exact number of shots fired but he said it was a "significant number of rounds."

"It's shocking that it happened," Ulster Town Supervisor Fred Wadnola said. "But I guess that's the way our society is going today."

The wounded included a National Guard recruiter who was in a recruiting booth inside the mall when he was shot. Olson said the 20-year-old recruiter might lose his leg. Hospital officials did not release any information.

The second victim, a 56-year-old man, had superficial gunshot wounds to his left arm, thigh and leg, Olson said. Two other people had bullet holes in their pant legs, Olson said.

"We consider it fortunate that more people were not struck," Olson said. "Sunday afternoon in a crowded mall, it really has all the potential in the world to be a disaster."

Ali Afshar, owner of a mall kiosk, said he saw the shooter being tackled from behind by two men who work at Dick's Sporting Goods. "They hit him and took him to the floor and held him there," Afshar said.

Michael Bovalino, chief executive officer of the mall's parent company, said crisis counselors would be available for mall employees Monday. "Our main concern at this point is the well being of those that were injured," Bovalino said in a statement.