The Westfield Oakridge Mall was declared “all clear” by the San Jose police four hours following the issuance of a shelter-in-place order due to a shooting incident, KPIX reported.
No shooter or victim was found and mall workers are told to get back to their posts.
Shots were fired while people were busy with holiday shopping in a mall in the South Bay. The incident scared customers and triggered a huge and smooth law enforcement response from several agencies.
A report regarding a conflict was received by San Jose police. The altercation led to gunfire at 5:48 in the afternoon near the Forever 21 store.
Within minutes, officers arrived in the area but had no clue of the shooter or shooters’ whereabouts.
The mall entrances and exits were meanwhile secured by other police officers with the help of the California Highway Patrol and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department deputies.
Police officers who entered the mall also assisted customers and workers for their safety as they look for the shooter and the victim.
“Right now we are doing a systematic search of this entire mall,” Sgt. Christian Camarillo of the San Jose Police said. “There could still be an armed suspect somewhere in this mall. We’re not going to give the all clear until we search every corner of this mall.”
To help patrons who might part ways with their loved ones while the incident happens, police also established a reunification center at the parking lot of Home Depot, which was just across the street on the 900 block of Blossom Hill Road.
One of the workers in the mall who asked for his name to be withheld said a loud “boom” was heard before the frightened shoppers started to cry. It sounded like “a shotgun,’’ he said.
About a hundred patrons sought safety in his store, he said, and he sent them in a locked back room to hide.
“I tried to be calm because I know people were panicking inside there,” he said.
Meanwhile, the father of an 11-year-old shopper, received a call from her kid when the incident happened. Franz Hurtado said his daughter hid in the Old Navy store and they remained in touch through text messages.
“It was very, very scary,” Hurtado said. “She was brave, she was brave until now. It’s been a long day for her.”
Just before 10 in the evening, the search was completed by the police but no victim or suspect was found.
The cause of the conflict, gun type, number of shots fired remain unknown.
“Officers will be at the scene for a few more hours gathering evidence and conducting the investigation,” according to a tweet by the San Jose Police.
“The sad part is we had kids in our store,” another anonymous mall employee said. “This is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.”
The huge shopping mall was crowded with shoppers as Christmas nears. There were several others who were at the theater when the incident happened.
“I get to hug my little girl again,” said Hurtado. “Scary moment, scary moment for the family.”