MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (AP) — A mall in New York’s Hudson Valley was evacuated amid reports of a shooting on a crowded holiday-shopping Sunday. Police said two people were injured, but it was unclear whether they were shot.
State police Trooper Steven Nevel said no other information was immediately available about the possible shooting reported around 3:15 p.m. at the Galleria at Crystal Run in Middletown, about 70 miles north of midtown Manhattan.
The possible shooting happened at an American Eagle store. A man who answered the mall security office phone declined to comment, and the American Eagle store’s phone rang unanswered.
Leighton Peterson was grabbing a pre-movie bite to eat in the mall’s food court around 3:20 when suddenly, he heard alarms, “and all of the employees were telling everybody to get to the exits and evacuate,” he told The Associated Press.
As people made orderly progress toward the exits, Peterson thought it might be a fire drill until he heard a worried-looking mall worker mention a shooting, he recalled.
Outside, holiday shoppers lingered at first to see whether there might be an all-clear and reopening. But before long, “it became pretty clear that there was an actual situation happening, so then people started leaving en masse,” in a bumper-to-bumper stream out of the packed parking lot, said Peterson, 32, a video editor.
The Galleria mall also was evacuated during the holiday shopping rush in December 2008, when an odor of gas at a department store forced the shopping center to close early on a Thursday evening.
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