RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Reports of gunshots inside a busy North Carolina mall caused chaos Saturday as shoppers ran screaming for the doors or sheltered in stores as dozens of officers converged arrived on the scene, witnesses said.
Raleigh police said they responded to reports that shots were fired inside Crabtree Valley Mall around 2:30 p.m. The mall in an affluent area of Raleigh was then put on lockdown. Helicopters buzzed overhead as numerous law enforcement vehicles swarmed the shopping area.
Police said in a statement about two hours later that they’d found no one with gunshot wounds, nor had they arrested a suspect. Video posted on social media sites shows dozens of people running toward mall exit doors as numerous screams were heard.
Outside the mall, where people gathered afterward, a police officer got on the loudspeaker on a fire truck and said there was no one shot in the mall.
Witnesses described what they heard as gunshots, followed by pandemonium.
John Riggleman and Kristin Warring told The Associated Press that they were heading to a video game store when they heard shots coming from the mall’s food court. They quickly ran into the store with dozens of others before the doors of the mall were locked. Warring said she heard an additional series of shots.
Police told them they could leave the store at about 3 p.m.
Riggleman said they were inside the video game store for about a half-hour. When they finally were allowed to leave, they passed about 10 officers or SWAT team members moving the other way with guns drawn.
“They had guns up, kind of covering us as we were running out. And then there were more back toward the exit kind of telling people where to go,” Riggleman said.
Zoe Hanks, 12, was at a hairdresser inside the mall, having the hair around her shoulders lightened, when word of an emergency came. She left with chemicals still in her hair and a towel around her neck. She said she knew it was time to go when “all he people were running.”