Un­founded re­ports of gun­fire cause panic at mall

Newark Post - - POLICE BLOTTER - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­[email protected]­pub.com

An un­founded re­port of gun­fire at the Chris­tiana Mall sparked panic among shop­pers and caused an evac­u­a­tion of the mall on last Fri­day night, one of the busiest shop­ping days of the year.

How­ever, no one was in­jured, and there is no ev­i­dence any shots were fired, said Master Cpl. Michael Austin, a spokesman for the Delaware State Po­lice.

Austin said sev­eral peo­ple re­ported hear­ing “some­thing that sounded like gun shots” near ei­ther Tar­get or Macy’s. How­ever, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that those re­ports were in­cor­rect.

In­stead, po­lice said, a fight broke out in the mall, and the ruckus caused loud noises that were ap­par­ently mis­taken for gun­shots.

“Dur­ing this in­ci­dent, a glass con­tainer broke and a metal sign fell to the floor,” Master Cpl. Melissa Jaf fe said. “Pa­trons and em­ploy­ees im­me­di­ately be­gan flee­ing the area. There has been no ev­i­dence re­cov­ered of any weapons be­ing present or dis­charged. At this time, it ap­pears that the fight within the mall is the cause of the mass exit of pa­trons and em­ploy­ees.”

Sev­eral troop­ers were al­ready sta­tioned at the mall when the re­ports came in at 8:47 p.m., and dozens more rushed to the scene, shut­ting off ac­cess to the park­ing lot and lock­ing down parts of the mall.

The mall re­mained closed for the rest of the night as po­lice swept the build­ing to en­sure there were no threats or in­jured shop­pers.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing this in­ci­dent is asked to con­tact Troop 2 at 302-8342620. In­for­ma­tion may also be pro­vided by call­ing Delaware crime stop­pers at 1-800-TIP3333 or via the in­ter­net at www. delaware.crimestop­per­sweb.com.

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