Man recovering from head injury following scare in Town Center at Boca Raton mall

Police say shoppers ran after hearing balloon pop, thinking it was gunfire

By Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Police confirmed Tuesday that no crime occurred during Sunday afternoon's scare at the Town Center at Boca Raton.

Instead, police confirmed it was a popped balloon in the food court that sent frenzied shoppers and workers running for cover.

Julus Augustin, 30, was seriously injured as he escaped what he thought was gunfire. 

"It sounded like a gun," he said.

Augustin said he felt he had to run for his life.

"The security guard said, 'Everybody go,'" he recalled. "Everybody [was] running, so I was running, too."

According to a police spokesperson, an officer in the parking lot near Bloomingdale's found Augustin suffering with head wounds and "drifting in and out of consciousness, so he was unable to initially provide any information about what occurred or how he was injured."

Meanwhile, police continued to receive reports of gunshots, prompting officers to search the mall. In the end, though, there was no evidence that a shooting had occurred.

Investigators eventually reviewed surveillance video showing a janitor pushing a garbage cart through the food court, and people running seconds later.

Detectives used surveillance video, along with blood and hair evidence, to determine Augustin was injured "after his head hit the push bar on a door as he was evacuating the mall." He was taken to Delray Medical Center.

"I felt something hit me to my head," Augustin said. "Three or four hours [later], I wake up."

Augustin is now recovering at his girlfriend's apartment in North Miami Beach. He has more than a dozen staples in his heads, wounds on his back and foot, and said he is still in a lot of pain. 

Even after learning there was no gunfire at the mall, he said he felt his only choice at the time was to run.

"Everybody running around you; what are you going to do?" he mused.

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