MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — A quiet Friday evening at a popular Mt. Juliet shopping center was disrupted by a parking lot shootout, forcing people to duck for cover around the lot and inside surrounding businesses.

The Mt. Juliet Police Department posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, at 6:04 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10 that officers were responding to a report of a shooting at Providence Marketplace. Community members were urged to avoid the area while authorities handled the incident near Target.

Less than 10 minutes later, officials wrote, “The shooting incident in Providence MktPlc is no longer active,” adding that the incident was the result of a fight between two people and that one shooter was in custody.

In a news conference later that night, Mt. Juliet Police Capt. Tyler Chandler said 911 calls started coming in around 6 p.m. about active shooting in the parking lot, where many shoppers were starting to duck behind their vehicles for cover. A massive number of officers responded to the scene, including two off-duty officers who were eating at a nearby Red Robin with their families and ran toward the incident when they heard the gunfire.

According to authorities, the preliminary information indicates a husband and wife traveled from Smyrna to the Target parking lot in Mt. Juliet, where they planned to sell a firearm to someone they met through an online marketplace.

While the husband was out of his vehicle to meet with the buyer, he was reportedly ambushed by another person who started shooting, as well as the buyer. The husband ran back to his car, grabbed a firearm, and fired back at the suspects, police said.

Officials said both suspects fled in an SUV, but Mt. Juliet’s license plate recognition system captured the vehicle and its tag. Since the vehicle is registered out of Nashville, detectives are following leads in that direction to see if they can track down the suspects.

At 11:22 p.m., the Mt. Juliet Police Department announced investigators had recovered the SUV involved in the shootout at a Nashville location, but there’s no word on whether anyone was inside:

(Source: Mt. Juliet Police Department)

Authorities believe there are three suspects involved in the shooting: the person who was meeting with the Smyrna man and acting like he wanted to buy the gun, the person who initially opened fire on the seller, and the person who was driving the SUV that fled the scene.

Police said the man and the woman who traveled from Smyrna to sell the gun stayed at the scene and are cooperating with the investigation, but there’s no word on their identities or any potential charges against them.

According to law enforcement, there are technically two crime scenes at Providence Marketplace: the Target parking lot, as well as the Red Robin since a bullet went through the restaurant’s window.

Even though nobody was injured in the shooting, officials said they are doing everything they can to find those responsible for the attempted robbery and the ensuing shootout.

We constantly see a nexus where, when crime is committed in our community by individuals, or when our officers are doing proactive activity, the suspects in the criminal element always points back to Nashville. Our officers do amazing work in this community to keep this city safe, and they are constantly having to be proactive and diligent to keep this community safe. We’re not supposed to have shootings in a community, or shootings in a packed parking lot on a Friday evening where people are enjoying dinner and just trying to shop, but our officers work hard at it, and they work hard because they care about this city and they’re going to do everything they can to keep this city safe. You can look at the crime statistics, and Mt. Juliet is surrounded on every border by high-crime areas, and we are not immune to crime, but what we’re going to do, we’re going to everything we can to keep the crime down and be proactive to keep it down, and crime is not going to be successful here.

Capt. Tyler Chandler, Mt. Juliet Police Department

Chandler also encouraged anyone trying to sell an item to a stranger you met online to meet up at safe transaction locations designated at local law enforcement agencies. If that stranger won’t agree to meet with you there, he said, “it’s likely bad news and you want to stay away from them.”

No additional details have been released about the circumstances surrounding Friday evening’s incident.

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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.