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Mission Valley Mall Shooting Leaves Woman Dead as Police Search for Suspects

Police continue to investigate an early morning Christmas Eve shooting at the Westfield Mission Valley mall near San Diego that resulted in the death of a young woman and another clinging to life.

Authorities identified the woman as Ilona Flint, 22, and the man as Salvatore Belvedere, 22, the brother of her boyfriend, according to the San Diego Union–Tribune, who added that Flint's boyfriend, Gianni Belvedere, was also missing.

KGTV reported that both had been shot in the head.

"(This is a) terrible tragedy right before the holidays," San Diego Police homicide Lt. Mike Hastings told KGTV. He added the shooting occurred about 1:15 a.m. at the mall.

Authorities stated that Flint called 911 after she had been shot but later died of her injures. Both victims were discovered by police shortly afterward in a vehicle with Utah license plates. The shooting happened in a parking lot as many stores stayed open late to accommodate Christmas shoppers.

Authorities said they were reviewing surveillance video at the mall and talking to witnesses. Police told the newspaper they believe the suspect was a male in his mid-20s, from 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-11, wearing tan pants and a shirt.

Mall security said the mall did open at 7 a.m. as planned, though police tape cordoned off a large area around the crime scene.

Shopper Cathey Kelley said she was hesitant to come to the mall after hearing about the shooting.

"This was the only store that had what I needed," Kelly told NBC. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have come here."

Jerry Hill manages the Christmas Tree lot in the Macy's parking lot and was there when the shooting happened.

"Normally, the most excitement you see here is bumper accidents on this little intersection," Hill told KGTV. "It's just sad somebody has to lose their life over who knows what," he added.

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