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Police give all-clear at SouthPark Mall Saturday after brief evacuation

Wikimedia Commons
The entrance to the SouthPark Mall in Charlotte is seen in an undated photo.

Updated 1:06 p.m.

Police in Charlotte say they found no evidence of a shooting inside SouthPark Mall, after unfounded reports of shots fired sparked a panic and led to a mall evacuation on Saturday afternoon.

Mall employees described how shoppers began running through the mall and hiding in stores.

Video shared online by Queen City News appeared to show the aftermath of the chaos that erupted inside the mall. Tables and chairs had been overturned in the mall's food court and food and drink spilled across the floor.

Outside, law enforcement officials unrolled crime scene tape to block off the mall's entrance as shoppers left in their vehicles.

On Twitter, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they received multiple calls for service but were unable to confirm shots had been fired.

Police said an initial investigation determined there was a "disturbance" inside a store, and two people were immediately detained by mall security.

One person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries that did not involve gunshot wounds, according to a tweet from MEDIC.

The mall was evacuated as a precaution before police gave the all-clear around 4:30 p.m.

A similar situation unfolded at a mall in Raleigh in August. Raleigh police were called to the Crabtree Valley Mall on reports of a possible shooting.

Panicked shoppers said they heard shots and began screaming and running for the exits. Police later said they found no evidence shots had been fired.

Shootings have taken place inside other malls in Charlotte in recent years. In September, Concord police officers exchanged gunfire with a man inside Concord Mills Mall after responding to a report of stolen credit cards. The man later died.

A juvenile was also charged with shooting and injuring another juvenile at Northlake Mall in March 2021.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police cited a man in February for accidentally shooting himself in the leg inside SouthPark Mall, which also caused panic among shoppers.

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Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal