EDITOR'S NOTE, 3/28/17: Prosecutors have dropped charges against Angelo Lamont Jackson.
A 17-year-old high school junior has been charged with stabbing two men to death inside a Maryland mall after police say they fought.
Angelo Lamont Jackson, of Montgomery Village, Maryland, was arrested Wednesday in the deaths of two men in their 20s at the Westfield Wheaton mall.
Angel Alfredo Gomez-Pineda, 24, of Silver Spring, and Kevin Siloe Moya Cruz, 22, of Wheaton, died after they were stabbed inside the mall Tuesday afternoon.
Jackson was arrested Wednesday afternoon after police identified him on surveillance video footage of the attack, police said. Officers recognized him after having had previous contact with him.
Speaking at her home on Thursday, Jackson's mother, Charlene Young, said her son had nothing to do with the crime.
"This is mistaken identity," she said. "That's some gang stuff -- MS-13. That's nothing to do with my son. I know where my son was at. I have proof where my son was at at the time when this incident happened."
The two men were stabbed after they were involved in a fight on the lower level of the mall, near the Hollister clothing store, police said.
Four young men broke bamboo sticks that were in a planter inside the mall and wielded them against a young person.
The conflict died down. Then, the person who had been attacked with the sticks returned with a knife, police said.
Officers were called to the mall about 3:15 p.m., where they found the victims with life-threatening stab wounds.
The victims were pronounced dead later in the day.
Jackson appeared in court Thursday. His lawyer said the 11th grader at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville said he is innocent.
Jackson was charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder. He was held without bond because a judge considered him a possible danger to the community.
In court, prosecutors said Jackson had a juvenile record, with a second-degree assault conviction in 2014 and an attempted robbery charged.
At the family's home, Jackson's brother Arnold said his younger brother had been in trouble before but never would endanger someone's life.
"My brother's a good dude. He makes jokes. He a goofball. A killer? A murderer? That can never be my little brother," he said.
Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office spokesman John McCarthy said he could not confirm whether the crime was gang-related.
If Jackson has an alibi, he will have the opportunity to raise it as a defense as the case proceeds to trial.
He could serve life in prison.