San Jose (CBS SF) – An 18-year-old man in San Jose who allegedly opened fire on a crowded Euclid mall in Christmas shopping following a powerful arm robbery was charged with several counts of attempted murder, the San Jose Police Department announced Thursday.
Investigators said Nile Hobson-Platner is being held in Santa Clara County Jail for several counts of attempted murder with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and possession of an assault weapon.
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“We are very, very lucky that innocent civilians were not harmed as a result,” Sgt. Christian Camarillo of San Jose police said at a news conference Thursday.
The shooting occurred on December 20, 2021, around 5:48 p.m., police responded to numerous calls reporting gunfire inside the mall.
Investigators said Hobson-Platner was walking in the crowded mall with his girlfriend. Two gang members, later identified as Ulysses Jimenez and Paul Lavao, approached Hobson-Platner and ripped jewelry at a powerful arm robbery.
After the robbery, investigators said, Hobson-Platner pulled out a concealed gun that had been illegally modified for fully automatic firing. He released the fully automatic weapon at Jimenez and his heart as they ran toward a crowd of shoppers in the bustling mall.
“It’s basically a machine gun in your hand. Those rounds can go anywhere,” Camarillo said.
Hobson-Platner allegedly fired about 15 bullets at many people at the mall and then fled with his girlfriend. Jimenez and his heart also escaped with the stolen jewelry.
Fortunately, no one was hurt by the shooting.
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Following the crime, hundreds of frightened shoppers were locked in the mall and vaccinated on the spot as police responded to numerous reports of active shootings in the crowded mall.
San Jose police and SWAT officers conducted a search of every store and hallway including the Target store inside and the surrounding parking areas.
Physical evidence was found at the scene and later processed by Santa Clara County Crime Lab.
The weapon used in the shooting was not found. But police do find repaired guns, or so-called “ghosts” on the streets, in the possession of people who cannot legally possess firearms.
“The number of ghost guns, or custom-made weapons, we have found has risen astronomically in the last four years,” said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
Gang detectives assigned to the case were able to identify Jimenez and his heart. San Mateo law enforcement officer identified Hobson-Platner from a previous case.
On January 12, 2022, San Jose police located and arrested Hobson-Platner at his San Jose residence, and he was taken into custody after a brief arrest. Search orders have been obtained and executed in a number of places. A firearm was found. DNA from Hobson-Platner linked him to evidence found in Oakridge from the date of the shooting.
On January 25, 2022, Jimenez was located and arrested in San Jose. Labao was arrested on March 9, 2022. Both Jimenez and Labao were jailed in the Santa Clara County Jail for robbery.
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Len Ramirez contributed a report.