No gunman found after shooting report
A 911 call about a man firing a gun near the Lauderhill Mall at lunchtime Thursday brought a massive police response, but a gunman was not found after a search by SWAT, K-9 and a helicopter, according to investigators.
Officers arrived at the busy shopping center shortly after the 911 report was made at noon and spoke with the caller, Lauderhill police Lt. Michael Santiago said.
The shots were first reported to be coming from near Northwest 19th Street and State Road 7, three blocks north of the mall in Lauderdale Lakes.
“The 911 caller stated they observed a black male with light-colored pants and a bandanna shooting indiscriminately into the area, not at any one in particular person, but just indiscriminately,” Santiago said.
The witness saw the shooter go into the Winn-Dixie grocery store at 1531 State Road 7, which anchors the north end of the Lauderhill Mall.
Lauderhill police and Broward Sheriff ’s SWAT deputies along with K-9 and a helicopter sealed off the area, north of West Sunrise Boulevard, and searched the grocery store, but they didn’t find an armed man.
“There is no actual confirmation of a shooter,” Santiago said.
No one was arrested, and after about 90 minutes, SWAT deputies were packing up their gear.
Later Wednesday, a review of store video showed a person who wore clothing similar to what the 911 caller reported, but no criminal activity happened inside the store and a weapon was not found, Santiago said.
There also weren’t other witnesses or physical evidence, like empty shell casings. Still, police were continuing to investigate. Winn-Dixie was allowed to reopen for customers.
Santiago said so much police firepower descended upon the mall “to neutralize any type of danger to the community.
Though Lauderhill Fire Rescue paramedics stood along the mall sidewalk with their gurneys ready, the beds remained empty. There were no injuries during the incident, which also prompted a brief lockdown of four area schools, Santiago said.