Aventura Mall reopens after shooting scare shut down shopping center

Police investigate what caused shoppers to panic

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

AVENTURA, Fla. - The Aventura Mall reopened Sunday hours after a shooting scare shut down the major shopping center just two days before Christmas.

However, the mall did reopen at 8 a.m., with a heavy police presence. A video shot Sunday morning shows armed police officers stationed inside the mall.

Aventura police said unfounded reports of a shooting at the mall just after 7 p.m. Saturday caused shoppers to panic and authorities to evacuate the mall -- one of the largest in the country.

Shoppers said they heard what they believed were several gunshots, sending people ducking for cover inside stores.

"I heard two gunshots, and then I see all of these people running. I saw a white flash in front of my eyes, and I just started running," said Charles Fishman, who was inside of the mall.

It's unclear what caused the sounds. Aventura police said they found no evidence that shots were fired inside the mall.

Police said they are still investigating what caused the shoppers to panic.

Similar incidents have occurred at South Florida malls in recent months.

In August, the Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater was evacuated after false reports of a shooting. In November on Black Friday, Westland Mall in Hialeah evacuated after someone pulled a fire alarm.

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