A man banging a skateboard on the ground of a Texas shopping mall set off an “active shooter” scare Monday — sending panicked shoppers scrambling for the exits and ducking for cover in bathrooms, cops and witnesses said.
Dallas Police said the unidentified person, who is mentally ill, started banging the skateboard at NorthPark Mall at about 1:30 p.m. and made hand gestures as if he was firing into the crowd, a local ABC affiliate reported.
Hundreds of shoppers at the mall sprinted for the doors, thinking the bangs were gunshots, according to the report.
A number of people called 911 to report gunshots as a result of the banging, police said.
One employee who spoke to the television station said he hid in a bathroom as the commotion broke out in the shopping center.
“I was hiding in the bathroom for 10 minutes,” he told the station.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said he doesn’t blame the shoppers for being on edge given the spate of mass shootings in recent weeks.
“Obviously with the country — particularly what it is right now — there’s a lot of trauma. I don’t blame these individuals one bit. This is what’s occurring right now,” Garcia said at a press conference.
“We are very fortunate that this was not an active shooter,” he added.