Thousands of people trapped in New Jersey mall after shooting
A person with a gun opened fire on Monday evening in a New Jersey mall shortly before closing time in the town of Paramus, and the mall was being evacuated, a county official said.
Mayor Richard LaBarbiera told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the police are searching the mall and trying to evacuate thousands of people still trapped inside 100 or so stores. He also told CNN that there have been no injuries. Police believe the gunman is still in the mall.Witnesses reporting hearing multiple shots fired seconds apart inside the Garden State Plaza, and that the shooter had fired at security cameras, CNN reported. Televised images from outside the mall showed a heavy police presence at the malls.
“Multiple gunshots were heard. We believe it is one shooter. I know there is an active shooter near the Nordstrom area. The mall is being evacuated,” said Jeanne Baratta, Chief of Staff at Bergen County, adding that a SWAT team was on site.
Jonathan Astacio, a witness who was inside the mall, told CNN he heard several shots: “We heard two loud booms… Then we heard two more shots and saw people running… After that there were no more gunshots.”
Mall patron Paul Erlandson told CNN he had been outside the mall since 9 p.m. local time.
“I was in the process of walking through the front doors actually as a huge crowd of people were basically running towards me… I never actually made it into the mall.”
Garden State Plaza is the largest mall in New Jersey and has nearly 11,000 parking spaces, over 2 million square feet of leasable space and over 300 stores.
Paramus police could not immediately provide any more information.