A broken light caused mass panic at a mall in Northern Virginia after the sound of the bulb shattering was mistaken for the sound of gunshots.
The mall went on lockdown as police were investigating the reported shooting. Officers responded to the Tysons Corner Center located on 1961 Chain Bridge Road around 3 p.m. Residents were advised to avoid the area as officers worked to clear the mall.
Upon investigation, it was discovered that a light fixture had fallen and caused a loud noise, Fairfax County police said. There was no property damage except for the light fixture.
According to a witness report from The Washington Post, Melanie Kantor of Fairfax County had been at an American Eagle store in Tysons with her family when the staff locked the doors and led everyone into a storeroom. She reported being told that people had been seen running in the hallways, so “we’re putting everyone back here.
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She estimated that about 50 people were in the backroom of the store in a state of uncertainty while getting a variety of text messages and phone calls purporting to tell what was happening.
It was “a little scary,” she said, because “nobody knew what was going on” and there was “a lot of bad information flying around.”
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During a press conference on Saturday afternoon, police said that no injuries were reported as a result of the gunfire, but three people were transported to area hospitals because of injuries sustained while fleeing from the mall.
Investigators added that an individual fired a gun multiple times inside the mall, but no one was hit.
One of the reason why so many of the residents were so jumpy is connected to the fact that there was a shooting that happened at this same mall a few months prior, where gunshots were fired in Tysons after a fight, closing the mall and sparking a panic as customers fled or hid in stores.