Reports of an active shooter at the Ontario Mills Mall on Monday turned out to be false, according to Chief Mike Lorenz of the Ontario Police Department.
Around 2 p.m. Monday, the Police Department sent out a tweet announcing that police officers were arriving at the mall following “reports of a disturbance” and asked those in the nearby vicinity to avoid the area.
The Police Department stated that its dispatch center received multiple calls reporting that there was a person inside the mall who was armed with a gun. Gunshots could also be heard on the calls.
A group of people were seen running through the mall, which “caused alarm” among shoppers and workers, police said.
Ultimately, those calls were deemed fake and the group of people who were running in the mall was seemingly unrelated.
“It has been determined that there was no gun or shots fired. We will continue to investigate the false claims and hold those persons accountable. The Ontario Mills Mall is safe and has resumed business as normal,” the police department shared on Twitter.
A similar incident happened last year at the Ontario Mills Mall. Authorities quickly determined that those reports were false as well.
Calling authorities to phone in a phony threat can result in serious criminal trouble for those arrested and charged. According to the FBI, a hoax threat can result in federal charges and as much as five years in prison, in addition to any local or statewide charges.