Crabtree Valley Mall, one of the Triangle’s largest enclosed shopping centers, is was briefly locked down after police responded Saturday evening to reports of gunfire, which they now say were unfounded.
Police evacuated most of the mall by 7:45 p.m., according to News & Observer reporters who are on the scene. Officers quickly quelled the initial chaos, but hundreds of shoppers are still on site in snarled-up traffic.
“All of a sudden I hear this stampede of running and screaming,” Stacy May, an employee at Journeys Kidz, told The N&O. “I heard two shots.”
But police have not found signs of a shooting.
“We got reports of shots fired,” said Watch Commander Samuel Karlinksi. “We didn’t find any evidence. The reports were quickly unfounded.”
Tyler Njoten, who works at Kanki, didn’t hear shots. But he hid after observing mass panic.
“I just saw a flood of people running and screaming,” Njoten told The N&O. “I ran to the employee bathroom and hid until the sound stopped.”
Several social media posts indicate police squads arrived at Crabtree around 6:50 p.m. after shoppers reported sounds of potential gunfire. Video showed several police cars in the parking light with flashing lights.
“(P)eople running inside mall…,” wrote Twitter user Diane Smitherman, whose Tweet suggests she was stuck in Crabtree when police first arrived. “(H)eard pops…stores locked down…locked in back room of stores.”
Nanette George, another Twitter user, said she and others escaped the complex shortly after 7 p.m.
“We just got out at Crabtree Mall,” George wrote. “We hid in a dressing room until the gunshots stopped and everything quieted. Police everywhere inside. They are shutting down all of the stores.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
This story was originally published August 27, 2022 7:32 PM.
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