EAST ALTON, Ill. — East Alton police are looking for a man who shot two women outside an ice arena where a youth hockey game was getting ready to start Saturday night.
Around 8 p.m., officers responding to the shooting converged on the parking lot of East Gate Plaza, a strip mall along Lewis and Clark Boulevard near the intersection with West St. Louis Avenue.
East Alton Police Chief Scott Golike said it happened directly outside the East Alton Ice Arena. The suspect, who was unknown to the victims, walked up and started a brief conversation with them. He then pulled out a gun and fired a shot that struck both women, and ran away.
The women were both taken to an area hospital for treatment. Golike did not have details on their conditions but said one woman was more seriously injured than the other.
The man's motives were unclear, but it appears it may have been an attempted robbery gone wrong, Golike said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 618-259-6212.
A fire also broke out around the same time inside a Club Fitness located adjacent to the ice arena. Police said the fire was completely unrelated to the shooting.
When firefighters arrived, smoke could be seen inside the fitness center and billowing from its roof.
A message posted on the facility's Facebook page said the location would be "temporarily closed until further notice" because of the fire.
A woman who identified herself on Facebook as an employee of a nearby Dollar General said employees were ordered by police to lock their door and remain inside the store.
In addition to the Dollar General, the area around the strip mall is also home to a movie theater and other retail stores.
According to an online calendar, two youth hockey games were scheduled to be played at the ice arena Saturday night—one at 9:15 p.m., the other at 10:30 p.m.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.