Mall Of America lifts lockdown after reported shooting

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) – The Mall of America announced it was lifting a lockdown after Minnesota police responded to a reported shooting Friday.

The Bloomington Police Department tweeted just after 8:15 p.m. that police and EMS were on the scene of a shooting at the mall. The shutdown lasted about an hour before the mall tweeted that shoppers were being sent out.

Police did not immediately release information on whether anyone was injured or arrested.

Videos posted on social media showed shoppers hiding in stores, and a notice at the mall warned people to take cover. Some videos show shoppers running for cover after a loud bang is heard. The reported shooting comes as malls and malls across the United States see an influx of shoppers just days before Christmas.

The reported shooting comes as malls and malls across the United States see an influx of shoppers just days before Christmas.

Jenny Hefty of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and her 16-year-old daughter had just gotten off the escalator to the mall’s second floor, right in front of the Nordstrom store, when people started running toward them and screaming. Her daughter thought she heard gunshots, even though Hefty didn’t.

“At first we thought they were just arguing,” she told The Associated Press on Friday night. “It was like ‘why are all these kids running past us?’

Retailers began to close their doors and her husband told them to run as armed guards rushed towards Nordstrom, where Hefty had tried on perfume about 20 minutes earlier.

The trio rushed to their mall hotel and frantically tried to reach the couple’s 18-year-old daughter, 21-year-old son and their friends on their cellphones. They had been locked inside stores or taken to safer locations when the mall closed.

The family, who often travel the four hours to the mall, were in town for the Minnesota Vikings’ football game against the New York Giants on Saturday.

“Of course we wanted to come early and do some Christmas shopping,” Hefty said.

The Mall of America confirmed the lockdown on its Twitter account and asked shoppers to remain at the “closest safe location.”

Mall officials said on Twitter that the lockdown was lifted later Friday.

Since opening in 1992, the mall has been the largest in the United States and is a tourist destination and community gathering place. It prohibits weapons on the premises but does not have metal detectors at its entrances.

The mall was placed on lockdown in August after a reported shooting at the shopping complex in suburban Minneapolis sent some shoppers running for cover and two people were injured last New Year’s Eve during an apparent brawl.

Representatives from the city of Bloomington and the Mall of America did not immediately return requests for comment.

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