Suspect in Paddock Mall shooting identified, still on the run - Ocala Gazette (2024)

Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Albert Shell Jr. for premeditated first-degree murder and premeditated first-degree murder after a shooting at the Paddock Mall left one person dead and one person injured on Dec. 23.

The suspect fled from the scene after the shooting, which began at 3:49 p.m., according to the Ocala Police Department. As of 5 p.m. on Dec. 27, the suspect is still at large.

Shell, 39, has a lengthy criminal history, spanning from 2002 until the present, and has previously been found guilty for battery, assault of a law enforcement officer, possession and sale of cocaine, resisting an officer, driving without a valid license, failure to return leased property disorderly conduct, possession of cannabis, fleeing police and retail theft.

Shell has outstanding charges of a prior offense of battery and harassing a victim, witness or informant from Nov. 21 and possession of cannabis and resisting an officer from Sept. 27.

Many of his past charges have been dropped, including but not limited to domestic assault, aggravated battery, burglary, grand theft, child neglect and battery upon a pregnant woman.

Ocala Mayor Ben Marciano issued a video statement in the wake of the shooting, extending his condolences to those involved.

“Our focus now is on conducting a thorough investigation into this incident and apprehending the suspect,” Marciano said. “I assure you we are working hard to bring justice to the victims.”

“Gazette” owner and publisher Jennifer Hunt Murty was present in the mall at the time of the shooting and witnessed it unfold. Murty provided her first-hand testimony while still at the scene to “Gazette” staff to provide a report on the shooting.

At least seven shots were fired in the central area of the mall in front of the Macy’s, according to an eyewitness.

As of 4:18 p.m., there was no longer an active threat. The shooter is believed to have fled the scene, according to the Ocala Police Department.

One female victim was shot in the Kay Jewelers and appears to have non-life threatening injuries, said Murty.

A male victim, who was shot outside Starbucks, sustained life-threatening injuries from a gunshot to either the neck or head and died at the scene, Murty said.

“I was volunteering at the wrapping station that raises money for the domestic violence shelter, and the gunman was probably about 10 feet away,” Murty said. “We didn’t really have any protection other than tables with linens over them but we went to the floor, and everybody else was running, so we were very close to the shooting as it occurred, and had very little protection to hide.”

At 3:39 p.m., Murty, while on the ground 10 feet from the shooter, texted OPD Chief Michael Balken that there was an active shooter. At 3:40 she texted “come now.” At 3:41 p.m., she texted “in front of Macy’s.” Not being able to take a call, she also texted, “active, can’t talk.” By 3:42 p.m., bystanders started to assist one man shot in front of Starbucks, and she texted the locations of where victims were at. By 3:47 p.m., one police officer had arrived. By 3:48 p.m., paramedics and more law enforcement arrived at the scene.

Balken described the shooter as a Black man, wearing a black hoodie, black pants and a black mask over his face.

“My fellow wrappers, hiding with me, were afraid even my text would alert them to us,” Murty said.

The mall was busy with shoppers at the time of the shooting, just two days before Christmas. Students from the Vanguard High School Band were performing in the mall.

Oneman, who asked to remain anonymous, told “Gazette” staff that he was waiting for his children, ages 15 and 20, who hid in a closet once they heard gunshots.

Another witness, Dee Falbush, reported hearing about 15 to 20 gunshots. The woman and her 12-year-old son were in the Graphics t-shirt store.

“I dropped my phone and just started running,” she said.

Another witness, Melissa Ramirez, was in the Starbucks with her sister while the pair shopped for Christmas gifts for their family.

“We’re walking around Starbucks, we’re laughing, we’re smiling, joking about our drinks…next thing you know we hear ‘pop’ and we look back because we weren’t sure if it was just something, but then we heard ‘pop, pop,’ and that’s when I grabbed (my sister) and I told her to run,” Ramirez said.

“Everybody was screaming and running and pushing and trying to get out,” she said.

Sean Blake was going to the Eyeglass Hut at the time of the shooting. Blake reported seeing a suspect carrying what looked like a pistol.

Several students who were performing with the band at the mall from Vanguard High School, including Donald Lloyd, Allison Tarr, Brooklyn McKay and Jacob Rodgers, said they ran when the shooting started.

“I ran, I tripped over some people, I got out of there as fast as possible. I was afraid for my life and the life of my teammates so I quickly left,” said Lloyd.

OPD is currently investigating.

This is not the first shooting that has occurred at the Paddock Mall. In 2021, an 18-year-old man died after being shot in the mall’s parking lot.

OPD asks for any witnesses to come forward with information to aid their investigation as they attempt to apprehend Shell as a suspect in the Paddock Mall shooting. There is a cash reward of $10,000 for any informant whose information leads to his arrest. Call (352)656-6137 to submit a tip to detectives.

To submit an anonymous tip, call (352) 368-7867 or at

Suspect in Paddock Mall shooting identified, still on the run - Ocala Gazette (2024)
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