The Ocala Police Department has identified the suspect in the shooting at Paddock Mall that occurred the previous day, leaving one man dead and a woman injured. Although initially labeled as an “active shooter situation,” authorities clarified that while there was no active shooter, a shooting did take place within the mall. The victim, identified as David Nathaniel Barron, 40, was found shot to death in a common area, while a woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to a hospital for treatment.
Cicely Robertson, who described Barron as her tattoo artist, expressed grief, referring to him as “Dirty” and highlighting his positive qualities. According to her, Barron was a generous and motivating individual who cared deeply for others. The police indicated that the shooter fled the scene, and investigators suspect that the incident may have been targeted.
The Ocala Police Department issued a statement on Sunday, announcing an arrest warrant for Albert J. Shell Jr., 39, for premeditated first-degree murder and attempted premeditated first-degree murder in connection with the shooting. The department released two of Shell’s past mugshots along with the announcement. Robertson, noting that Barron was a father, lamented the tragedy of his children spending Christmas without their father.
The incident, occurring just two days before Christmas during a busy shopping period, prompted chaos at the mall when shots were fired. Witnesses described the tense situation, with employees at Bath & Body Works reportedly opening a back door to assist people in escaping. The mall was evacuated, and law enforcement agencies, including the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Ocala Fire Rescue, Marion County Fire Rescue, and Florida Highway Patrol, responded to the scene.
Videos captured by witnesses documented the chaotic aftermath inside the mall. The Ocala Police Department, in a social media post, appealed for the return of the shooter’s red hat, emphasizing its potential value as crucial evidence containing DNA. Earlier, the department had shared surveillance stills of a person of interest in a red hat. Authorities urged anyone with information on Shell’s whereabouts to contact them directly or provide anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers. Additionally, individuals with cellphone video footage from the scene were encouraged to share it with the police department.