- Chelsea Todaro Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A man arrested in a shooting outside The Gardens Mall on Friday was ordered by a judge to be held on a $20,000 bond Saturday morning.
Dimitri Virginia, 23, of Riviera Beach, faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, firing a weapon in public, and a weapon offense for bringing a missile into a dwelling.
County Circuit Judge Joseph Marx ordered Virginia not to visit the Gardens Mall, not to have any contact with the victim, be subject to in-house arrest with a GPS monitor, and to not possess any weapons.
A state attorney said in court that Virginia fired 14 rounds at the victim’s vehicle, leaving eight bullet holes in the car. The state attorney also said he has no prior felonies.
Virginia’s mother, who was present in court, tearfully said that her son had a weapon’s permit and what happened was “not like him.”
“Dimitri is not a problem child,” the mother said, sobbing to the judge. “He’s been working and doing really well.”
At 2 p.m. on Friday, Palm Beach Gardens police responded to the Gardens Mall at the Macy’s parking lot to reports of a shooting. Officers found a white Audi nearby that had crashed into a pole and stopped in front of a tree. The car’s hood was forced upward with its doors open.
Police said no one was injured in the incident but it was not a random act. Virginia and the victim, who remains unidentified, allegedly knew each other, according to police.
Virginia has a scheduled court date on Dec.18, at 10:30 a.m.
A mall employee who works at Macy’s, Kathryn Cantella, said she saw Virginia get arrested while looking out of the second story window in the furniture section of the store.
“It was calm when I saw the police cars there. They didn’t have their lights on, but I kept seeing (Virginia) pick up his shirt, as if he was showing officers an injury to his back,” Cantella said.
As for the security staff at the Gardens Mall, Cantella said she has high regard for them and always feels safe there.
“They’re amazing,” Cantella said. “I never have to worry because there are tons of (guards) around.”
She said Macy’s store training teaches employees to stay calm and to be ready in worst case scenarios. One simulation in a training video showed a person walking into the store with a loaded rifle, Cantella said.
“I always thought the videos were silly, but here we are actually living it,” Cantella said. “It teaches us to not be afraid, but how to protect yourself and to be careful.”
The Post reached out to The Gardens Mall security office asking about their safety procedures and Friday’s incident, but a representative who anwered the phone said they will only make statements on such matters on weekdays during regular business hours.