Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Florida

No evidence of shooting after Florida mall lockdown: police

Reports of possible shots at an upscale Florida mall Sunday sent panicked people running and triggered a lockdown for several hours.
Authorities respond to Town Center at Boca Raton, Sunday, in Boca Raton, Fla., as the mall had been placed on lockdown following reports of shots fired. (Andres Leiva/Palm Beach Post via AP) [ANDRES LEIVA | AP]
Published Oct. 14

BOCA RATON — Reports of possible shots at an upscale Florida mall sent panicked people running and triggered a lockdown for several hours Sunday, but a SWAT team’s search found no evidence of any shooting and police issued an all-clear after nightfall.

One person was injured, apparently leaving the mall in Boca Raton, police said.

Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said Sunday evening that authorities conducted a sweeping search but found no evidence to confirm the initial reports. Nonetheless, he said, investigators were still scouring mall surveillance video, seeking to pinpoint the source of an apparent loud noise that panicked mallgoers into an afternoon exodus from the Town Center at Boca Raton.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Sunday night, more than six hours later, authorities tweeted that "There is no longer a threat" and that employees and mallgoers could return to retrieve belongings and vehicles they left behind.

Soon after receiving the initial reports Sunday afternoon, police tweeted for those still in the mall to shelter in place as a lockdown took hold. The agency subsequently tweeted that a SWAT team had entered the mall for an exhaustive search and it subsequently advised that no active shooter was present.

"Some noise went off. We have not recovered any shell casings, or any rounds of ammunition. We are characterizing it as a suspicious incident," the chief told a news briefing Sunday evening.

Alexander also said one person police previously tweeted as having a possible gunshot wound had, in fact, a traumatic injury from apparently "hitting his head on the door" as he attempted to leave. The man was being treated at a medical center, the chief said, declining to identify the person or discuss his injuries further.

Some people posted video on social media showing what they said were cars streaming away from the mall as armed police arrived. Other online posts showed footage of people hurrying away on foot.

Though many left the mall immediately Sunday afternoon, some were still inside hours later as they still awaited evacuation, Alexander said. He urged those still inside to remain patient while police continued an exhaustive search to "clear every single space."

"A lot of people have been waiting patiently to get out," he said of those who sheltered in the mall until police gave the all-clear Sunday night.

Alexander said authorities still are trying to pinpoint exactly what set off the disturbance. He said no suspects had been identified and urged anyone with information to call a public tip line.

Federal, county and other law enforcement agencies were called in to assist in the search and investigation, he said.

Boca Raton is a city on Florida’s southeast Atlantic coast about 45 miles (70 kilometers) north of Miami.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Sam's Club fulfillment center manager Nick Barbieri explains to a shopper how the new Scan & Go shop works at 5135 S Dale Mabry Highway. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Shoppers in Tampa Bay can now skip the line and cash out alcohol on their own phones.
  2. One of a pair of orphaned panther kittens is being examined by the staff at ZooTampa. The pair, named Pepper and Cypress, so far have shown no signs of the ailment that led to their mother's death, zoo officials said. Courtesy of ZooTampa
    The mother had to be euthanized because a mysterious ailment left her unable to walk.
  3. In this Amber Alert made available by the Jacksonville, Fla., Police, shows an undated photo of Taylor Williams. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, authorities in Alabama say they have found human remains while searching in the woods for Williams. The child was reported missing from her Jacksonville, Fla., home last Wednesday. (Jacksonville Police via AP) AP
    Taylor Rose Williams’ mother, who said her daughter disappeared from home overnight, was charged with child neglect and giving false information to investigators, according to investigators.
  4. St. Petersburg's new 26-acre Pier District, with components that will include a coastal thicket walking path, marketplace, playground and pavilion, is nearing completion. Shown is the tilted lawn in front of the Pier head building that is being created  with Geofoam, soil and grass. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    St. Petersburg hopes to sell naming rights in the Pier District — available for annual payments of $50,000 to $1 million for 10-year terms — to help offset taxpayer subsidies.
  5. A flag supporting President Donald Trump flutters near the University of Florida's Century Tower before an Oct. 10 appearance on campus by Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle. A controversy over the political nature of the event has led to calls for the impeachment of Student Body President Michael C. Murphy, who helped set it up. Courtesy of Chris Day
    A push to oust Student Body President Michael Murphy comes after an email surfaces, suggesting he worked with the Trump campaign to bring a political speech to campus.
  6. Flood-elevation requirements for permanent Florida Keys homes could mean local ‘tiny homes’ wind up with more square footage than most of the diminutive domiciles. Courtesy of Bayview Homes
    “We cannot keep building the way we always have and expect a different outcome in future disasters.”
  7. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Michael Patrick Nealey, 49, was arrested Monday morning and charged with killing Lucky Miller at a Hilton hotel.
  8. The Falcon 9 rocket sits on Kennedy Space Center's historic Pad 39A in Cape Canaveral on Thursday.[SpaceX via AP]
    The company deployed a second batch of 60 satellites for its Starlink communications constellation.
  9. Vacant land within the Italian Club Cemetery may the site of the lost College Hill Cemetery, listed in some 100 obituaries from 1896 through the 1930s. Tampa Bay Times
    Cubans and African-Americans were once buried on land that appears to be a vacant corner of the Italian Club Cemetery.
  10. Do you know what Pam Bondi is expected to focus on if she joins the White House communications team?
    How closely do you follow the Tampa Bay Times? Take our weekly quiz and find out.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement