NEW YORK — Fireworks sparked panic at two New York City malls Saturday afternoon.
Police say the loud bangs caused a shooting scare, but no gunshots were fired.
As CBS2’s Astrid Martinez reports, in light of recent mass shootings, the possibility of an active shooter caused hours of chaos and commotion at Kings Plaza Shopping Center. Shoppers and employees were evacuated from the building in fear that another tragedy could happen.
Cellphone video shows the frantic evacuation of the King Plaza mall early Saturday afternoon with people running for cover.
Police responded to the scene and shut down the mall.
People gathered outside different entrances wondering what happened and if they were safe.
“I was hearing that there was a shooting inside or it might have been fireworks,” one Brooklyn resident said.
“Very scary, very scary. You don’t know when it’s going to happen, when it’s gonna be next. It can be anywhere. It can be anyone,” shopper Sharon Filler said.
But it was a false alarm. In a tweet, police said, “The noise heard was determined to be fireworks.”
The same thing happened at the Mall at Bay Plaza in the Bronx around 1:30 p.m.
The loud bangs of the fireworks are tied to trauma with the frequent and recent mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, Texas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and.
Safety is top of mind for many New Yorkers, including Filler and her daughter.
“It can be the shopping mall. It could be a restaurant. It could be at a church. You see it everywhere. It’s terrible. It’s terrible,” Filler said.
When the Kings Plaza mall eventually reopened, there was a noticeable police presence inside, and two separate kiosks were taped off with security guarding the area.
Police have not said if the two incidents were related, and there have been no arrests.
CBS2 reached out to mall management for a comment regarding the incident, but we have not yet heard back.