Dave Morton, managing partner of Holly Hill Mall & Business Center, said Friday evening that he was in the process of reviewing surveillance footage and was determined the person who yelled about a shooter was a prankster. “It was a prank,” Morton said.and more »
Mar 17, 2017 at 5:10 PM
Mar 17, 2017 at 8:56 PM
Police evacuating mall, no known injuries as of 5:30 p.m.
Natalie Allison Janicello Times-News @natalie_allison
A report of a gunman in Holly Hill Mall on Friday led to police descending on and evacuating the facility as they searched for a suspect, though none was found.
Roughly two hours after the 911 call came in about a shooter in the mall, the Burlington Police Department determined the premises were secure and began allowing employees and customers back inside.
“We don’t have any evidence that anything, in fact, actually happened,” said Assistant Chief Chris Verdeck, of the Burlington Police Department.
According to police, around 4:45 p.m., a clerk inside Shoe Dept. Encore called 911 after a few people left the mall through the store yelling that there was a man with a gun inside the building.
Verdeck said the clerk wasn’t sure whether the people were serious, but decided she needed to call police.
More than a couple dozen officers initially responded to the mall, including the police department’s special response team, and additional officers later arrived at the scene. They immediately evacuated shoppers and employees from the building.
“We did a slow and deliberate search of the mall to make sure there wasn’t a gunman inside,” Verdeck said, adding that officers then conducted a “secondary sweep” to make sure a suspect wasn’t hiding somewhere.
No one was injured.
Mall employees and concerned and curious customers looked on in the parking lot while officers stood outside a mall entrance and the doors of Shoe Dept. Encore with rifles drawn. Lights flashed on patrol cars stationed across the parking lot on all sides of the building as others blocked entrances to the parking lot.
“We take these things very seriously,” Verdeck said.
Despite thoroughly searching the building and deploying a number of officers to the scene, Verdeck said from the mall parking lot Friday that the lack of panicked 911 callers was a tip-off that the report may not have been legitimate.
“Typically, if this was a real situation, our 911 center would have been inundated with phone calls,” he said.
Dave Morton, managing partner of Holly Hill Mall & Business Center, said Friday evening that he was in the process of reviewing surveillance footage and was determined the person who yelled about a shooter was a prankster.
“It was a prank,” Morton said. “We’re going to determine who did it, and they will be in trouble.”
As of Friday evening, Verdeck said, police had not yet reviewed the footage, nor had they been able to locate the people who reportedly left Shoe Dept. Encore yelling about a gunman.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the Burlington Police Department at 336-229-3500 or Alamance County-Wide CrimeStoppers at 336-229-7100.
Reporter Natalie Allison Janicello can be reached at email@example.com or 336-506-3078. Follow her on Twitter at @natalie_allison.
Burlington police have given the "all-clear" signal at Holly Hill Mall and allowed store managers to return to their businesses.
The determination came at 6:25 p.m., after police methodically searched, cleared and closed behind them all stores in the mall on Huffman Mill Road.
Managers were allowed back into the mall in small groups after identifying themselves and their place of business.
No armed suspects were found inside or around the mall. No injuries were reported as of early Friday evening.
According to scanner traffic, some mall businesses planned to close for the night, though customers were also waiting to re-enter the mall."This threat has been unsubstantiated at this time. We're not finding any evidence this ever actually did occur," says BPD asst. chief.pic.twitter.com/XwYiXJqbPV— Natalie A. Janicello (@natalie_allison)March 17, 2017
5:50 p.m.: Police are still searching the mall. No suspect has been located yet.
The report of an armed man came from a single 911 call.
Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe arrived on the scene a few minutes ago.Officers are at Holly Hill Mall investigating shots heard. No suspects or victims located. Avoid area. We will advise when it's clear.— Burlington Police-NC (@BurlingtonNC_PD)March 17, 2017
Update: As of 5:30 p.m., police say there are no known injuries involved in the incident. Police are debunking rumors of wounded or dead inside mall.
Burlington police are evacuating Holly Hill Mall after a report of an armed man inside.
Burlington Police Assistant Chief Chris Verdeck said police received a report of a man with a gun inside the mall.
The department's Special Response Team is working to clear the mall and locate a possible suspect.
Details are scarce.
A reporter and photographer are at the scene.
From scanner traffic, police are working to check each store inside the mall and close them off to the public afterward.
Check back for more information as it's available.
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