Someone fired shots Thursday at the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis, sending shoppers running for cover, but police said it did not appear anyone was hurt.
Bloomington police also said they were still looking for a suspect after securing the scene shortly before 6 p.m. They said a lockdown that had forced some shoppers to shelter in place, while others fled, was being lifted, but the mall would not reopen on Thursday.
Video posted to social media showed what appeared to be a man screaming as he walked near the resort’s Nike store, with at least three gunshots apparent.
Bloomington Police Chief Booker T. Hodges at a Thursday night news conference at the mall said two groups had an altercation at a store, one group left, but someone in that group decided to fire three shots in a store with people around.
“Fortunately, at this time, it does not appear that anyone was injured,” Hodges said.
Police are looking for two people but only one had a weapon, Hodges said. He said a Bloomington police officer was on the scene within 30 seconds.
Hodges said if someone decides they have no respect for human life, “I don’t know what we can do about it.”
Mall spokesman Dan Jasper said the mall will reopen on Friday with more security and police on site.
“Firearms are not permitted on Mall of America property,” Jasper said.
Governor Tim Walz tweeted, “Tonight’s violence at the Mall of America is unacceptable. These brazen incidents will not be tolerated.
The mall, which opened in 1992, is the largest in the United States and is a tourist destination and community gathering place.
Video posted online showed shoppers fleeing the indoor amusement park on the ground floor of the giant mall, holding their children’s hands and clutching their bags. Yet another video showed two police officers, one with a rifle, moving through the mall, and people moving quickly away from the mall’s large indoor atrium.
Trent Turner, a clerk at a DSW shoe store one level below the Nike store, said he was near the back when he heard gunshots. “Then I saw everyone rushing backwards,” he said.
Tens of thousands of Americans die each year from gun murders and suicides, and many more are injured, leaving families to mourn and straining the healthcare system. Gun violence is one of the leading causes of premature death in the country, and in 2020 more children died from gun violence than in car accidents. After the mass shooting during the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, LX News host Tabitha Lipkin spoke to Dr. Jonathan Metzl of Vanderbilt University about the public health impacts of the shootings.
A woman tweeted that she was shopping for clothes for high school photos with her 17-year-old daughter when the store manager told them to “back off as far as possible”. The woman said she was in a dressing room with her daughter. Another person posted a video of dozens of people allegedly gathered in the basement as warnings to “please take shelter immediately” repeated over loudspeakers in the mall.
A woman who only gave her name as Tara told The Associated Press that she and a friend were among dozens of people who ran down a hallway to exit the mall.
“We were in the Lululemon store and I just saw people running and he was in the locker room and I started knocking on the door to get him out and he didn’t have a shirt on so we ran out of there,” she said.
The Mall of America prohibits firearms on its premises, according to its website. The mall does not have metal detectors and shoppers are not searched upon entry. It was the scene of a shooting on New Year’s Eve, when two people were injured in an apparent altercation.