Authorities investigating reports of gunfire at a mall in the Canoga Park neighborhood of Los Angeles Sunday afternoon said they found “no evidence of a shooting” and believe the incident may have been a robbery.
Two unidentified people were taken into custody, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
People reported hearing shots fired at the Westfield Topanga and The Village shopping mall on 6600 Topanga Canyon Boulevard at about 3:15 p.m., according to LAPD Officer Cervantes.
Police described two male suspects being involved in the incident.
Social media users reported running out of the mall and cramming into storage areas.
Police announced about half an hour later that officers had not found any victims or signs of gunfire.
“We are responding to reports of a shooting at the Topanga Mall,” the department posted on Twitter. “At this time, preliminary information is NO evidence of a shooting, but officers are still on scene, and they are clearing the mall.”
Video from the scene shows customers flooding out of the mall and embracing. Some people were left in tears.
One woman, tears streaming down her face, described being in the changing room of a store and being told by a crying woman that there was a shooter. She said she was locked in the store for about two hours before officers told them it was safe to leave, and described the scene as being “chaotic” because no one knew what to do.
“Unfortunately in today’s world, you never know. Like, you could be at a Walmart or garlic festival and not really know if it’s safe,” she said. “And I was in there and really wasn’t sure if it was safe so I texted everyone and said I love you and bye.”
Her mother, holding her close outside the mall, described racing to the shopping center from Thousand Oaks to be close to her daughter.
She described the incident as “incredibly scary” and said, “it’s the worst thing that you could ever think as a parent.”
“To know your child is OK and is not hurt is the most unbelievable feeling there is,” the mother said.
A person who said she was an employee at the mall’s Guess store described a customer running back into the store and alerting everyone.
“A customer started yelling, ‘close the doors, close the doors. Something’s happening.’ And in like 5 seconds, people just started running everywhere and yelling random stuff,” the employee said.
She said she pulled everyone inside and locked the doors after getting a call saying there was an active shooter.
‘We always talk about it and we hear about it on the news, but for it to happen is insane… I couldn’t shut the door down, I was shaking and I was so afraid. I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.
Police asked community members to avoid the area and expect a large police presence.
The investigation is ongoing. No further details were immediately available.
UPDATE: The incident at the Topanga Mall has been stabilized. There was NO evidence of a shooting. 2 suspects were taken into custody (booking charges of Robbery and/or Grand Theft pending). Mall operations are resuming back to normal & we thank the community for their patience.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) August 26, 2019
— Jade Anna Rosenberg (@jadeannarose) August 25, 2019
@ABC7 @KTLA It turned out to be a robbery at Neiman Marcus at the Topanga Mall. Now just waiting for police to finish evacuating the mall. Crazy how we were at NM like 15 minutes before it happened. pic.twitter.com/DpeXP5MXjw
— Bruno (@BrunoRecillas) August 25, 2019