No gun­man found af­ter shoot­ing re­port

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - LOCAL - By Linda Trischitta Staff writer

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.

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