Police say a teenager was killed in a shooting at the Mall of America on Friday. The mall, which is the largest shopping centre in the United States, was put on lockdown as a result.
Chief of Police in Bloomington, Booker Hodges, said the man who was killed was 19 years old. During the shooting at the Nordstrom store in the mall, a bullet hit the jacket of a bystander.
Someone pulled out a gun and shot the victim several times, the chief said. It looked like there was some kind of fight between two groups. The whole thing happened in about 30 seconds.
Hodges told the person with the gun and the other people involved in the fight to go to the police. He also told people not to help the suspects get away from the police.
“If anyone helps these people, even by buying them a Happy Meal or giving them a ride, that would be great,” he said. “We’ll put you in jail with them.”
The mall should be open again on Saturday, but Hodges said the Nordstrom store will still be closed.
In a statement, the mall said that the Bloomington Police Department came to the scene of the shooting just before 8 p.m.
The mall tweeted that shoppers were being let out after about an hour of being locked in. Near the Nordstrom store, police were seen putting up yellow crime scene tape and emergency vehicles had gathered in the snowy parking lot.
People hid in stores in videos that were shared on social media, and an announcement in the mall told people to do the same. Some videos show people running for cover when they hear a loud bang.
There are a lot of people in shopping centres and malls across the U.S. right now because Christmas is coming up.
Jenny Hefty and her 16-year-old daughter had just gotten off the escalator to the second floor of the mall in front of the Nordstrom store when people started running and screaming toward them. Hefty didn’t hear gunshots, but her daughter thought she did.
“At first, we thought they were just playing around,” she told The Associated Press on Friday night. “I wondered why all these kids were running past us.”
Retailers started locking their doors, and her husband told them to run as armed guards ran toward Nordstrom, where Hefty had been trying on perfume about 20 minutes earlier.
The three people ran to their hotel in the mall complex and used their cellphones to call the couple’s 18-year-old daughter, 21-year-old son, and their friends. As the mall locked down, they were locked in stores or taken to safer places.
The family, who often drives four hours to the mall, was in town for Saturday’s football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants.
Hefty said, “Of course, we wanted to get there early so we could do some Christmas shopping.”
The Giants stayed at a hotel that was right next to the mall. Pat Hanlon, who is in charge of communications for the team, said that he thinks some players were in the mall when the shooting happened.
Hanlon said Friday night that everyone was back at the hotel and could be found.
Since it opened in 1992, the mall has been a place where people from the area and tourists go. It doesn’t let people bring guns in, but shoppers haven’t usually had to go through metal detectors. In October, the mall said that one of its entrances was being used to test a “weapons detection system.”
Some shoppers ran for cover when there was a report of a shooting at the mall in the suburbs of Minneapolis in August, and two people were hurt on New Year’s Eve during what seemed to be a fight.
The city of Bloomington and Nordstrom did not respond right away to requests for comment.