Two people were shot and wounded following an apparent altercation at the Mall of America early Friday evening, sending shoppers scrambling for safety and placing the mall in a temporary lockdown.
One man suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and another was grazed about 5 p.m. on the third floor of the Bloomington mall, police said. Shoppers ran for cover and the mall was evacuated until the lockdown ended about 45 minutes later, a mall official said during a news briefing. The suspect fled the mall, according to police.
Deputy Bloomington Police Chief Kim Clauson said police were working on the third floor when an officer heard one gunshot. Police and mall security arrived within a minute. The man shot in the leg was taken away by ambulance to HCMC, while the victim who was grazed was treated at the scene and released.
No arrests have been made. Clauson said the shooting did not appear to be random.
“It does appear there was an altercation between two males before the shot was fired,” Clauson said.
Metro Transit temporarily suspended its Blue Line service to the mall. By 5:45 p.m., the light rail was running to the mall again.
A video on social media showed emergency personnel gathered around one of the victims on the third floor near the Sears corridor. Another video showed medics leading a wounded man away on a stretcher. The man appeared to be conscious. Another posted to social media showed a large group fleeing the mall. Soon after the gunfire, an announcement boomed throughout the mall repeating that anyone not in a secure location seek shelter immediately.
Alexis Gonzalez, who works at the Windsor clothing store on the second level, said that the mall had been busy all day and teenagers had “been running around all the time, so when we heard the shot and heard the screams we all got frazzled.”
After a couple of minutes, Gonzalez continued, “we started seeing from out our store window that people were upstairs running. That’s when a girl came in our store saying someone got shot, and that’s when the mall lockdown alarms started, and people started rushing into our store.”
“People were running trying to get into stores, and you could see mall security rushing over to the north side on the third level,” Gonzalez said.
Josh Ellingson said he and his family were walking through the Nickelodeon amusement park before they were “told we had to get into a store for a lockdown. We didn’t get any other information other than that. We didn’t hear a whole lot other than the announcement and then being told we could leave. It was definitely a surreal situation.”
Another witness, who asked not to be named, said she was waiting with others for another friend when the lockdown began. “No one really did anything, then another of my friends came sprinting back and people started running and scattering.”
The group of friends moved from the windows they were sitting by to the floor. The witness then received a screenshot with information about the situation unfolding on Twitter.
“It hit when I saw that my friends from home were telling me to stay calm,” the witness said. “My friends I was with were super calm and we chatted and checked Twitter a lot.”
The Mall of America bans guns on its premises, according to its website. However, there are no metal detectors and shoppers are not searched upon entry. Mall spokesman Dan Jasper said lockdown drills are performed each month to prepare for shooting scenarios.