Columbia Police Chief William Holbrook said the shooting at the Columbiana Centre mall was not believed to have been a random act of violence but rather stemmed from "some kind of conflict" among a group of armed individuals who knew each other.
However, details surrounding the shooting remained sketchy, he said. Local media outlets reported a heavy presence of police and emergency personnel at the mall about 10 miles north of downtown Columbia, the state capital.
No one was killed in the incident, which unfolded at about 2 p.m. local time. But 10 people were struck by gunfire, and eight of them were transported to area hospitals. Of those, two were listed in critical but stable condition and six in stable condition, Holbrook told a news briefing hours later.
The gunshot victims ranged in age from 73 to 15, he said. Two other people were injured in a "stampede" of bystanders running for safety.
At least three people were found to have been carrying firearms inside the mall, and at least one of them actually fired a weapon, Holbrook said. Three individuals were detained in connection with the shooting, he said.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)