RIALTO - The Rio Rancho Discount Mall was packed with customers when gunshots rang out Sunday night.

A group of six men and boys, including the shooter, scattered for the exit. A 16-year-old boy with leg wounds scrambled out of the building and headed home to safety.

But another teen didn't make it out alive.

Terry Green, 16, a Los Angeles resident, died inside the Foothill Boulevard mall. The shooter remained at large Monday. But despite the tragedy, police were amazed no one else was struck by a stray bullet.

"It's very fortunate that there were only two people shot," said Rialto police Sgt. Vince Licata. "It could have been much worse."

Police didn't know exactly how many people were inside the mall, which houses a variety of stores in a building about the size of a large supermarket, but said many customers were there at the time of the 6:30 p.m. shooting.

The three or four gunshots heard by Dora Puc, owner of Cathy's Pet Shop, startled her and the two customers in her store at the time. The customers ran out but Puc, whose store is at the back of the mall, stayed behind because she didn't know whether she'd be able to make it out of the store safely.

"I was really scared because I didn't know what was going on," she said in Spanish.

Police arrived at 6:32 p.m. on a report of shots fired. Minutes earlier, Green and another boy were approached by the shooter and five other people.

"Several subjects confronted the victims inside the discount mall and initiated a fist fight," Licata said.

Green was shot in the upper body. The other boy was hospitalized in critical condition Monday.

Even though no one was in custody, police said the numerous witnesses in the mall were being helpful with the investigation.

"From what I understand they do have some things they're following up on so it sounds like some people did cooperate," Licata said.

Contact writer Melissa Pinion-Whitt at (909) 386-3878 or via e-mail at melissa.pinion-whitt@sbsun.com .