NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY ( - A North County family is searching for answers after their son was fatally shot inside the West County Center Saturday evening.

Like most fathers, Lonnie Maclin had big hopes and dreams for his son, Malachi Maclin. Lonnie Maclin is a former MLB player who had a short stint with the Cardinals in 1993; he said his son wanted to follow in his footsteps.

“He wanted me to get him to the big leagues, but I could help him out, but it’s hard,” Maclin said.

Instead of heading to college, Maclin said his son, just 20-years-old, began working at an auto parts company in Fenton after graduating from Hazelwood Central High School. The two planned to spend the Fourth of July together, until Saturday night when Maclin got word that his son had been shot at West County Center.

“It was shocking news, I thought he would be okay the first I heard,” Maclin said.

Malachi Maclin died at the hospital. Investigators said it happened inside the Champs store on mall's the first floor. Police said Malachi Maclin and a 21-year-old named Jason Hill got into a brief argument before Hill shot and killed him. It was a terrifying moment for shoppers and employees who were forced to shelter in place for hours. First responders from multiple agencies spent hours searching for Hill, who ran from the scene.

“I need answers and to know why my son was there, because he isn’t a mall person,” Maclin said. “I know he orders shoes online and I was just wondering if you’re not a mall person, what are you doing at the mall?”

Investigators said Hill turned himself in Sunday morning. He is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. According to the West County Center’s Code of Conduct, shoppers are not allowed to carry weapons inside. Investigators said they recovered two guns from the scene.

“Everyone knows he was a quiet guy and not like that, so I don’t know what the problem was, but it shouldn’t have happened,” Maclin said.

Maclin said he’s never heard of the suspect and isn’t sure why his son was at the mall in the first place. He said he’s patiently waiting for answers as investigators work to complete their investigation.

“You know as a parent, you want it right now,” Maclin said. “I understand they have to do their job and I’ll let them do their job, and I’ll wait.”

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

News 4 Reporter

Emma Hogg is a general assignment reporter for News 4 St. Louis

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