Reports of shooting lead to chaos at Town Center at Boca Raton

Man injured trying to escape mall after 'some type of bang' causes panic

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, David Dwork - Digital Editor, Sanela Sabovic - Reporter

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Panic-stricken shoppers ran out of the Town Center at Boca Raton mall Sunday afternoon after reports of a shooting.

Boca Raton police later confirmed that one man was taken to Delray Medical Center after suffering a trauma-related injury from a door while evacuating. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.

"I heard a pop," a shopper told Local 10 News. "Then I heard screaming, a stampede, running."

Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said "some type of bang" startled shoppers and employees at the food court.

"We need to get to the bottom of that if we can and determine what happened," Alexander said. "We have not recovered any shell casings, no rounds of ammunition, anything along those lines."

The mall was placed on lockdown while the SWAT team searched in and around the property. Some shoppers hid in stores until police gave the all-clear.

Officers with their guns drawn were captured on cellphone video entering the mall.

"We were just really kind of scared," shopper Cathy Areu said after hiding out inside the mall for about two hours during the pandemonium.

Some minor injuries were reported as a result of people escaping the mall, including the man who was taken to the hospital.

"It appears, based on what we can see, that he merely was trying to escape the mall and injured himself," Alexander said.

Some stores locked their doors and turned off the lights, ushering customers to back rooms. 

While locked inside a store, shopper Rodney Parker captured video of officers with their guns drawn, searching through a main mall corridor. 

Police are reviewing surveillance video to determine what led to the hysteria and panic.

"We're going to characterize it as a suspicious incident at this point," Alexander said.

Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.