Glendale police: Suspect in Westgate shooting said he was bullied, wanted to gain respect

Officials with the Glendale Police Department say a suspect is in custody after a shooting at the Westgate Entertainment District left three people injured Wednesday night.

According to a tweet made by police on its verified Twitter page, the shooting happened in the Westgate area, and members of the public were advised to avoid the area.

According to Glendale Police officials, calls came in at around 7:25 p.m. of an active shooting situation at Westgate. The shooting, according to officials, left three people injured.

Following the shooting, police and federal agents launched a search of what's believed to be the suspect's home near 85th Avenue and Northern.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, police said the suspect, 20-year-old Armando Hernandez Jr. admitted to carrying out the shooting and said he intended to injure 10 people.

Hernandez told police he had been bullied and wanted to gain respect. He used a black assault rifle, but police did not specify the make and model of the weapon.

One victim, a 19-year-old man, is in critical condition. A 16-year-old girl has non-life threatening injuries and a 30-year-old woman was not hospitalized.

Hernandez is being booked into jail on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, recklessly damaging property, discharging a firearm in city limits, disorderly conduct with a weapon, and more. He has since made an initial appearance in court.

One of the reported witnesses to the shooting is Arizona Senator Martin Quezada, who said, on his verified Twitter page that he saw the shooting, and that the suspect reportedly used an AR-15.

In video taken by witnesses at the scene, gunfire can be heard as others in the area try to run away.

Video from the scene (viewer discretion is advised for language)

Police confirmed the suspect is the same person seen in a Snapchat video that was posted on Wednesday night. They are asking people with the video to send them to police by contacting Silent Witness, or by calling Glendale Police.

Officials also say people were sheltering in place as a result of the shooting at the Westgate Entertainment District. Video obtained by FOX 10 from Daniel Welter shows armed police officers at the scene.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said he’s monitoring the situation and “the state is here to continue to offer its full support to the victims and to the community.”

A transformer was damaged during the shooting, resulting in a power outage to the Westgate area. Power has seen been restored. 

Witnesses speak

For many people at Westgate on Wednesday, it was one of their first nights out after Arizona's stay-at-home order expired.

As fate would have it, they ended up walking straight into an active shooter situation.

Kim Thomas said she can still hear the shots as she relives Wednesday night,

“People were even like 'what was that?' because it was just one right after another just shot after shot," said Thomas.

Thomas said she and her stepson ran to hide between dumpsters.

"Some other people followed us in there, and there was a lady and her daughter, she was four years old and their car was parked on the other side, so as soon as we saw that it was clear, we went to our car, which was parked right outside of the AMC and we took them with us, 'cause I didn’t want her to stay hidden behind the dumpster," said Thomas.

Thomas drove the woman and her daughter out of Westgate. She is relieved, and said she could have walked right by the shooter when he arrived.

"Where he surrendered to the cops is right where we were parked," said Thomas.

Others have also talked about their ordeal at Westgate, when the shooting happened.

“I just pretty much sheltered in place until I didn’t hear any more shots, and then I rolled around to see what happened. That’s what I came on the scene of people laying on the ground bleeding, women screaming," said Paul Butler. He was in his car when he heard about 20 shots.

Brittany Walls ducked under a table and called to check on her son.

"I guess I just want to feel that comfort of speaking to family, and knowing that he was OK, and I guess, in a way, saying goodbye," said Walls, in a phone interview,