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16-year-old suspect in Westroads Mall shooting will be tried as an adult

He is facing four charges including murder
Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 20:01:23-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Two suspects in Saturday's Westroads Mall shooting incident made their first court appearance Monday afternoon.

Mahki Woolridge-Jones, 16, is facing four charges including murder in the first degree, assault in the first degree, and two counts of use of a firearm to commit a felony.

Mahki will be tried as an adult. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said that's because the juvenile court only applies for a few more years.

"Juvenile court only has jurisdiction for another couple of years on him. Our statute says that depending on the nature of the charge itself and kind of the history, that’s what goes into whether they should be charged as a juvenile and certainly he fits the criteria to be charged as an adult," Kleine said. "We felt it most appropriate for him to be tried as an adult."

Mahki, who has a job and is working towards his GED, is being held without bond. During the court appearance, it was also revealed that he has bipolar disorder, which will be a mitigating factor in the case.

"It certainly isn’t an excuse for making someone not responsible for their behavior. It may be a mitigating factor of some kind with regard to the mental health issues," Kleine said.

Mahki's brother, 18-year-old Brandon Woolridge-Jones, is facing one class 2A felony charge of being an accessory to a class 1A felony. His bond is set at $7,500.

Kleine believes it was gang-related and said an investigation is ongoing.

Shoppers and employees alike were rattled by the incident.

Owner of Lawlor's Custom Sportswear, Pat Lawlor said Saturday's shooting fortified his decision to close his Westroads location. He said between the pandemic and now the two shootings that have occurred there this year, he can't keep asking customers to experience these horrible events.

In a statement to 3 News Now, representatives of Brookfield Properties, which owns the mall, said the safety and security of employees, customers, and tenants are of the utmost importance. They have enhanced their security measures.

"It is unfortunate that Westroads was the location of this heinous crime, and we are deeply saddened by it," the statement read. "For the foreseeable future, Westroads will be utilizing a highly-trained, weapon detecting canine to visibly patrol our center. In addition, we have enhanced several security measures behind-the-scenes that we will not discuss because to do so would compromise their effectiveness. We thank OPD and our local community for their ongoing support. We are committed and will continue to work closely with our state and local officials in their efforts to find a solution for the ongoing violence plaguing our community."