Police shoot, kill gunman in mall in Charlotte as terrified shoppers flee

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX News) -- A shooting at a North Carolina mall on Thursday afternoon left one person dead, according to police.

Off-duty officers confronted an armed man inside the packed Northlake Mall in Charlotte on Christmas Eve, police said. The man was shot and pronounced dead on scene. Police say it apparently started as a fight between two groups when the officers intervened.

Emergency officials said paramedics rushed at least three people to nearby hospitals. 

Jasmine, an employee at Aldo inside the mall, told Fox News there were about five or six gunshots. Aldo employees immediately closed the store gate and went to the back room, Jasmine said. Eventually, mall security came and told people to evacuate, she said.

Jasmine said the shots originated about 100 feet from the Aldo entrance. She said emergency crews had a stretcher near the scene of the shooting.

Pictures from the scene showed many shoppers running from the building, and some hiding.

The multitude of people trying to exit the mall in their vehicles -- combined with the number of first responders on the scene -- appeared to make leaving the mall a difficult proposition. Pictures showed a jammed parking lot with little movement.