Third Shooting At South Shore Plaza This Past Weekend


Reba Saldanha

On Saturday, January 22, 2022, the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, MA experienced its third shooting in the past five years.

Elle Cavanaugh, Contributing Writer

26-year-old Dijoun C. Beasley of Dorcester was shot his past weekend at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree. Left in “grave condition”, Beasley could not recover and is now dead.

According to the police, Beasley and an unidentified suspect had been arguing outside of the mall’s Forever 21 at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday when the suspect pulled a handgun out and shot Beasley in the head. 

An employee of the mall told Newscenter 5’s Peter Eliopoulos, “We heard the screams, and we heard the trampling of feet. It was like a mass running of kids and adults, and people grabbing everyone that they could, dropping their bags, and running in front of my store, which is all glass fronts.”

In a viral video, shopper Denzel Descartes panics and shouts “He has a gun, he has a gun!”, alerting others as he sprints past stores.

HHS senior Ally Higgins was at the mall shopping with her younger cousin when security issued a shelter-in-place order. She shared, “I was in a store nearby, and there was shouting, and then the worker closed the gate to our store, turned the lights off, and we hid in the back while alarms went off, and we didn’t know if it was an active shooter, so everyone around me was freaking out.” (She also shared a video).

By 6:40 p.m., the mall was evacuated. The mall was closed shortly after for the night and was not reopened until noon on Sunday.

After several days of investigation, the Braintree police and Massachusetts state police detectives continue to look for the shooter who likely exited the mall after firing. 

Though the event proved isolated and no one else was physically injured, this incident marked the third shooting in the past five years at the South Shore Plaza. Back in February of 2017, a gang-related shooting occurred that resulted in no physical harm. In July of 2020, an innocent 15-year-old girl bystander was shot in the hand and chest when a shooting erupted near the Nordstrom store.

This information proves alarming for many. The Braintree Mall has been a bustling and lively spot for many since the 1960s when first constructed. 

Senior Alexa Varholak explained, “I’m just scared now. It’s kinda unnerving that a place that I’ve been so many times feels less safe now.” Senior Ryan Maguire agreed, “My mom says I’m no longer allowed to go to the South Shore Plaza because she fears my safety–my life.”

Others had not heard much. Senior Cara Chaippinelli confessed, “I didn’t even know it happened, and I feel like this is an underreported event.”

Sophomore Stella Brazis commented, “I heard about it maybe once,” to which sophomore Hazel Orth added, “Yeah, I only saw a Tik Tok about it.”

Higgins also feels that the incident “should have more coverage because I have not heard anything about it.”

Shootings have been so normalized in the past couple of years that it is no longer much of a shock to hear about one. When asked, however, several students were startled to find out about the gun violence incidence at the Braintree Mall. Senior Cian Nicholas reacted with “What do you mean third shooting?!”

The Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros said, “I will say that this is unacceptable and that we will be working directly with the South Shore Plaza, Simon Properties, to come up with solutions to these problems.” The Mayor and Police Chief have announced plans for “increased cameras on the premises, increase police on the property and other security measures.”

Mayor Kokoros insists that the mall is “a place that people should be able to go and shop safely. We should not have gunshots being fired while people are out shopping and enjoying a Saturday.”