Gunfire broke out inside a mall in a Denver suburb on Friday, killing one person and causing shoppers to scatter in search of hiding places, police officials and a witness said.
Aurora Police Department spokesman Anthony Camacho said officers were looking for at least one suspect in the shooting that occurred at 4 p.m. inside a J.C. Penney store at the Town Center at Aurora mall.
He said there was no ongoing threat inside the mall, which is open except for the J.C. Penney. Yellow police tape cordoned off one entrance to the store.
“We do not believe there is a threat to the general public,” he told reporters.
Camacho said he could not immediately confirm how many people were involved in the shooting. Details on the person who was killed weren’t immediately known.
Officers patrolling the mall responded to reports of gunfire inside the store and found one person wounded, Camacho said. That person was taken to a hospital, where they died.
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Police were trying to determine how the shooter got away, he added. He asked anyone with information to contact police.
Shoppers were told to briefly shelter in place as police rushed to the scene.
A witness, Jalen Martin, told The Denver Post that he was walking in the mall when he heard a noise and saw people running.
“A few of the people who were in the cluster said, ‘He’s shooting; he’s got a gun,'” Martin said.
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He sprinted down an escalator and out of the mall as people ran into stores searching for places to hide, he said.
At least one police officer is assigned to the mall full-time, Camacho said. He assured residents that the mall is safe, especially during the holiday shopping season.
“We do feel that people can still come and shop here and bring their families here,” Camacho said.
On Nov. 30, Aurora police responded to reports of shots being fired in the mall’s parking lot but said they found no evidence of gunfire. Officers remained on the scene that day until the mall closed.
The mall is in the same city where a gunman opened fire in a movie theater in 2012, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.
(C) 2019 The Canadian Press