BEACHWOOD, Ohio (WOIO) - Two months after being sworn in as Beachwood Police Chief, Kelly Stillman is faced with the same repeating problem that posed challenges to his predecessor – gunfire at Beachwood Place mall.
“It was a concern for the prior chief and the city administration, and it’s still a concern,” Stillman told 19 News on Monday, just two days after the latest shooting.
An 18-year-old was arrested on Saturday after allegedly opening fire in the parking lot, shooting a person in the arm and the pelvis.
The victim required multiple surgeries.
Police said the shooting stemmed from an altercation between the victim and perpetrator inside the mall.
It appears they may have known each other prior to the incident.
This shooting is the sixth time in three-and-a-half years that a shooting has occurred at Beachwood Place, according to 19 News archives.
“We are deeply concerned about what’s happening there,” Stillman said.
“If the places keep their standards up, then you won’t get that. People will know they can’t go to Beachwood Mall and do that. But Beachwood Mall let their standards down a little bit,” a former mall employee told 19 News in July.
There has been law enforcement speculation that the mall’s location, right beside I-271, has led to the shopping center being used as an easily accessible meeting place for drug activity.
19 News has previously reported that the mall and police department have partnered to increase patrols and arrange for off-duty officers to work security.
Stillman would not address specifics of the security plan, but he reiterated that the city is committed to safety.
“The City of Beachwood has invested a lot of money into security measures,” he said. “We have a big stronghold out there, and we’re always looking at new, innovative ways to bolster that.”
Stillman was sworn in as police chief in September after leaving the Rocky River Police Department, where he held the same title for several years.
Now, he’s reassuring shoppers, Beachwood residents, and visitors that the mall is still safe, especially as the holiday shopping season ramps up.
“It’s a safe place to shop, unfortunately the criminal element does make its appearance every so often,” he said. “They are isolated incidents, and we deal with them accordingly. Hopefully with continued proactive police work we’ll get a curb on it.”
The mall’s parent company, Brookfield Properties, did not respond to our request for comment.