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Unconfirmed shooting reports at Westland Mall in Hialeah, Florida sparked panic, with shoppers running out of the shopping center, according to social media accounts. ABC10 reported, “Police officers were investigating reports of shots fired at Westland Mall in Hialeah during a busy Black Friday. Witnesses reported seeing hundreds of people running out of the mall at 1675 W. 49 St.”
Authorities had not yet confirmed what was going on as the news broke on social media on November 24. In some past circumstances, mall attack reports have turned out to be false panics. It’s too early to tell in Hialeah. The mall’s official Twitter page made no mention of the incident, as shoppers swarmed there for Black Friday sales the day after Thanksgiving. However, people wrote on social media that they were locked down inside the mall. “We’re on lockdown at Westland Mall we believe there is an active shooter. Stay away from Westland Mall,” wrote one woman on Twitter.
One man, Cristian Vasquez, wrote on Twitter, “Im at westland and everyone is losing their wits, i just saw everyone running and people yelling, next thing i know i see armed cops with bullet proof vest swarming the scene.”
Some unconfirmed reports said shots might have been fired inside a JCPenney store at the mall. Another person wrote, “Ummmm driving next to Westland mall. Stopped at a light & I just see a whole crowd of people running out the mall with kids & all running across the busy street. What. The. F*ck is happening ?!?!?!?!?! I hope everyone is okay. Omg I’m having a panic attack right now.” Reports varied. One Twitter user wrote of a bomb threat, not a shooting: “STAY OUT OF #WESTLAND MALL . MY AUNT WAS JUST THERE SHE SAYS THERES SOME KIND OF BOMB THREAT HAPPENING RIGHT NOW SHE ALMOST GOT TRAMPLED.”
Here are more of the tweets people are sharing about the mall. One person reported being on lock down in Sears. Another woman wrote, “I’m Stuck in Westland mall because there’s a shoot out…. people are so stupid putting others in harm.”
This post will be updated as more is learned about the incident.