herald

Monday 24 September 2018

Gunman hunt after US mall attack

SHOTS: A traumatised woman at the Plaza Mall

Police in New Jersey are searching for a gunman after multiple shots were fired inside a shopping centre.

Bergen County spokeswoman Jeanne Baratta said the authorities believe the suspect is still inside the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus.

She said Swat teams are concentrating their search in the northeast corner of the mall, near a Nordstrom department store.

Ms Baratta said a call was received saying shots had been fired at the facility shortly before the mall closed at 9.30pm last night. No injuries have been reported.

Paramus Police chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said the suspect was dressed in black wearing what is believed to be a motorcycle helmet.

A weapon has not yet been recovered although one bullet casing has been found.

Witnesses said the sound of gunfire sent customers and employees rushing for the exits and hiding places.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers converged on the mall, which was locked down as New Jersey State Police landed a helicopter in the car park of what is one of the state's biggest shopping centres.

EVACUATE

Ms Baratta said Swat teams and police with dogs were going through the mall and working to evacuate anyone still inside.

Nick Woods was working in the Lego store when a woman ran by shouting that there was a shooting.

He said his supervisor locked them in a back room, along with a woman, a man and a child. When they finally peeped out two hours later, he saw police officers outside.

He said: "I had to go out of the store shouting at the officers with my hands up, and they turned and pointed their guns at me. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life."

Carlos Sinde (36) was at the mall's cinema. He said: "Once the security guards started telling us what was going on, that's when there was hysteria."

hnews@herald.ie

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