INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Police are investigating after shots were fired Monday afternoon inside Independence Center.
According to the Independence Police Department, an off-duty officer was inside the mall around 3 p.m. and called to report the sound of gunshots.
When officers arrived, they determined that at least three shots were fired, but they were unable to find a suspect.
No injuries are reported. Police tell FOX4 that it’s unclear at this time if the shooting was a random or targeted event.
“Right now what we know is that there were three shots fired inside the mall,” said Sgt. Jack Taylor with Independence Police. “We don’t know whether they were shooting at someone in particular or if they were just firing rounds inside the mall. That’ll hopefully come out at some point as we continue the investigation.”
Workers and shoppers leaving the mall described a scary experience.
Jadeynn Bond works inside of a store at the shopping center and said was confused about what was happening at first.
“It happened right around that corner and I was like walking out of our back room, and we all just hear this pop, pop, pop pop and see something like fly. We didn’t know if it was something that hit our store if our store got hit or what. We figured out that it did. They hit our beams that connect our glass windows,” she said.
Bond said colleagues looked after children panicked inside the store.
“It was three associates, and then we shoved eight customers into the back room to the bathroom, and then we all barricaded the door,” Bond said.
Bond shared photos of bullet holes in a wall and the store beam.
The Nathan family heard the shots and ducked into the Victoria’s Secret.
“We don’t know where they were, but we heard them loud and clear,” Dawn Nathan said. “It was just like, ‘Boom, boom, boom!”
Sisters Kierstin and Katelyn Schuler were inside Dillard’s at the time and initially became separated. FOX4 spoke with them when they returned to the mall to get their vehicle.
“I couldn’t see her because everyone was like in a hurry and frenzy to get out, and I was like, ‘I can’t leave without my little sister,’” Katelyn Schuler said. “I’m a big sister first before anything. I was more concerned with finding her.”
Police said the mall will reopen for the evening. Anyone with information is asked to call Independence Police.
FOX4 will keep you further updated as more details come along.
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