Heavily armed police secure the area after reports that a gunman fired shots at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus
PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) — Hundreds of law enforcement officers converged on a mall in northern New Jersey Monday night after witnesses said multiple shots were fired there.
NorthJersey.com reported that witnesses said a man dressed in black and wearing a black helmet fired up to five shots at Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus shortly after 9 p.m. as the mall was about to close.
Det. Rachel Morgan of the Paramus Police Department would not comment on whether shots had been fired inside the mall. She said several hundred officers were at the scene.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Jessica Stigliano, 21, of Richfield, told The Associated Press that she was sitting in the mall's food court when she saw people running and yelling "shots were fired."
Stigliano said she also began running. She said at the time she was thinking, "Not many people run for their life, but that's what I'm doing right now."
She did not see a shooter. "It was scary to think that you could be that close to something like that," Stigliano said.
A manager at Chili's at Garden State Plaza told the AP they were on lockdown and could not leave. She said a manager at Nordstrom ran over to use the phone saying there had been a shooting. She did not say if the Nordstrom manager witnessed it.
Althea Brown, 26, of Paterson told NorthJersey.com she was in a clothing store when she saw a man walk by and then heard three shots followed by two more. She said he appeared to be wearing body armor and was wearing a helmet with the visor pulled up.
Several frightened customers sent tweets saying they were escorted from the mall by armed state troopers. One woman wrote that she ran from the mall "screaming."
The mall is located in Bergen County, about 22 miles southwest of Manhattan.