Arizona mall evacuated after reports of armed man; no suspect found
TEMPE, Ariz. (AZFamily/Gray News) - Police have not found a suspect who reportedly pointed a gun at another man and then ran into the Arizona Mills mall on Friday evening.
Officers say around 6:30 p.m., a man got into a fight with several people near Starbucks and then pulled out a gun. After pointing it at another man, the suspect then reportedly took off inside the mall.
Officers and mall security quickly cleared the mall but did not find the armed man or others involved. Tempe police say no injuries have been reported. The mall was reopened after security did a final walkthrough.
Police have not confirmed if any shots were fired inside or outside the mall.
“The shots that they [witnesses] may have heard were the large security gates that a lot of the malls will open up and close with,” Tempe Police Sgt. Hector Encinas said.
Several witnesses still reported hearing shots. A woman says her family was in the food court eating when they reportedly heard shots.
“We’re sitting in the booth and we hear boom, boom, boom! And we see people just running in droves out the door. They said ‘somebody’s been shot, run, get out,’” she said.
Shop owner Hassan Odeh also witnessed hoards of people running away.
“50 to 100 people just running from this way across our store to the right. And then some people came into the store and then I told some of my employees to lock the door,” Odeh said.
Encinas also confirmed people tried to take shelter inside the mall.
Video from Arizona’s Family news chopper showed more than 10 police cars surrounding the Entry 3 entrance of the mall. Shoppers were also gathered outside around portions of the mall, while some opted to leave.
Officers are currently working with shop owners to get surveillance video that might lead to finding the suspect. Tempe Police are asking anyone with information call (480)-350-8311.
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