Century City Mall in LA Evacuated After Reports of Gunman
— West Los Angeles / Beverly Hills
Shoppers sheltering in place inside the Westfield Century City mall were allowed to evacuate Friday afternoon as police continued to inspect a suspicious package on the premises.
Officers responded to initial reports of a man with a gun inside the mall’s Amazon store about 12:40 p.m., said LAPD Officer Jeff Lee. Moments of chaos broke out as shoppers ran outside while others sheltered inside stores, some believing there was an active shooter on the grounds.
“We are on lockdown sitting quietly waiting for more information,” said Giselle Abcarian, who was at the Zara store. “We saw a bunch of people running and panicked, so we ran to the closest safe place.”
An employee at the cafe called police, and staff were instructed to lock their doors. The business was on lockdown for about 30 minutes and given the OK to open about 2 p.m., Kelley said.
“Everyone seemed very calm and collected” at first, Kelley said. “With the internet and social media, once there was an information sweep people started to become concerned.”
The incident comes less than a day after 49 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The mall is one of the most upscale in Los Angeles. It recently wrapped up a $1-billion renovation.
Deputy Chief Horace Frank, the Los Angeles Police Department’s head of counter-terrorism, said there were reports that a man inside the Amazon store may have attempted to set a package on fire. The Los Angeles Fire Department was also on scene assisting, and there were reports of smoke coming from the store.
Authorities did not say whether police have identified a suspect.
— This Story was Helped Written With Reports from the Los Angeles Times