MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A man accused of firing a gun inside a busy Orange County mall over the weekend and then disappearing was arraigned Wednesday.
Michael Perez Rodriguez is charged with felony reckless endangerment and misdemeanor assault.
After three days on the run, a clean-shaven Perez Rodriguez appeared in Wallkill Town Court in handcuffs, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported. He looked much different than he did in a mall surveillance video released Tuesday, which showed him with longer hair and a full beard.
“The suspect in this case had a valid New York State carry permit issued in Sullivan County, therefore because a valid permit was issued by a judge in the state of New York, that individual was allowed to carry this gun,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said.
Prosecutors say the 27-year-old from Forest City, Pennsylvania turned himself in to police in Sullivan County overnight, where his parents live.
Perez Rodriguez was with his pregnant wife and two children – one in a stroller – around 3 p.m. Sunday in the Galleria at Crystal Run mall in Middletown, when he allegedly fired one shot from a handgun into the ground outside the American Eagle store.
Bullet fragments injured a 49-year-old Goshen woman and her 12-year-old son shopping nearby.
Other holiday shoppers fearing an active shooter scrambled for safety. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate and the mall shut down on one of the busiest weekends of the year.
Heavily armed officers moved in and spent hours searching from store to store, but the suspect was caught on video leaving during the chaos, along with his wife and kids.
It’s still not clear how or why the gun was fired, but investigators would not call it an accidental discharge, Conybeare reported.
Despite allegedly disappearing after the shooting and changing his appearance, investigators say Perez Rodriguez was cooperative, turned over the weapon and his passport. His bail was set at $2,500.