Word of a Roosevelt Field Mall shooting sent hundreds of shoppers scrambling out of the New York mall on Monday, Dec. 26, in what later turned out to be a false alarm.
Cellphone footage circulating on Twitter reportedly shows shoppers fleeing into the parking lot after hearing what they thought were gunshots ringing out in the Garden City, Long Island mall. However, police said a food fight in the food court caused the disturbance.
Nassau police reportedly found no evidence of any shots being fired when they arrived on the scene after the disturbance that happened around 6 p.m. the day after Christmas.
Nassau police commissioner Patrick Ryder said the alarming sounds that spurred panic were some chairs and a garbage pail that were turned over in the food court.
The Roosevelt Field Mall is no stranger to shooting scares. Other videos on social media show shoppers in a frenzy in May. No shots were fired then, but some shoppers dropped to the ground in fear. Reports show a 21-year-old man was punched in the face by someone who ran from the scene.
Six years ago, an almost identical incident happened at the mall on the same day. A fight broke out in the food court around 6:30 p.m., reports show. Shoppers called the police to report a shooting, but authorities said no shots were fired. Another food fight led to reports of a shooting on Dec. 26, 2015, the year before, according to reports.
An active shooter expert told News12 New Jersey in May that running from the scene promptly is the right way to respond in shooting incidents.
“We want to see people reacting immediately because time is a huge factor,” Don Longo said.
CBS New York reports that some shoppers were at the mall on Monday to return items or get catch post-holiday deals.
“A lot of sales today,” Lauren Belle said. “We’re about to head to the mall and do some more shopping.”
Ryder told News 12 Bronx that police have been patrolling the mall to ensure the safety of shoppers during the holiday season.