A loud noise at the Town Center at Boca Raton’s food court ignited a shooting scare that led police to place the packed mall on lockdown, leaving shoppers stuck inside stores for hours and sending a man to the hospital with a serious head injury.
Investigators said there are no signs a gun went off.
Boca Raton Police officers responded to multiple reports of shots fired at the mall located along the 6000 block of Glades Road, just after 3 p.m., Sunday.
What followed was a massive response by authorities: tactical units, SWAT trucks and officers armed with high-powered assault rifles.
Cameras captured police focusing their efforts in the southeast part of the mall. SWAT units from Boca Raton and Delray Beach police, as well as the Broward Sheriff’s Office, were seen swarming that area.
Federal agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.
Just after 4:30 p.m., a 7News crew witnessed a SWAT official using a loudspeaker to tell someone, “Come out with your hands up.” However, no subject was taken into custody.
Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander addressed the incident during a news conference.
“We have not identified any suspect. We have not identified any gunshots or gunfire of any sort,” he said.
Just after 9:30 p.m., police said the mall would remain open until 11 p.m. for anyone who wanted to collect their belongings or return to their vehicles.
Investigators spent Sunday night combing through surveillance video and speaking with people who were at the mall at the time of the incident in an effort to pinpoint the source of the noise.
“We need to get to the bottom of that, if we can, and determine what happened,” said Alexander.