Chaos and confusion erupted inside Aventura Mall when a gunman opened fire Saturday afternoon, injuring three people.
Aventura Police say two groups of people got into a fight near the Hugo Boss store at the luxury mall, located at 19501 Biscayne Boulevard. Someone brought out a gun, but another man drew his gun and started shooting.
Three people were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Several people were detained in connection to the fight, Aventura Police said. The person who fired their weapon ran away from the mall and is at large.
After the shooting, mall patrons and employees were led out of the shopping complex and officials announced the mall would not reopen until Sunday.
Several people on Twitter reported crowds of shoppers leaving the mall as well as customers and employees having to lock down inside stores.
“Everybody started running in the store and it was a serious situation,” said Tyler Ray, who works at the mall. “I knew I had to like go fast and react quickly.”
“People were just running all over each other, running out of their shoes, running out of their clothing, leaving purses,” said Rawsi Williams, who was inside the mall. “It was very traumatic.”
Police had no immediate report on what touched off the incident and did not immediately release the identities of those in custody or injured.
Oscar Alvarado, a worker at the mall, said the complex was bustling with a strong Mother’s Day weekend crowd when the chaos erupted. He said it wasn’t the first shootingat the mall that he’s experienced.
Alvarado recorded video of two police officers moving down the mall walkway after the shooting with their guns drawn. And he described waiting for about an hour with coworkers before they could evacuate.
“There was a lot of commotion outside, a lot of people crying and stressed,” he said of the scene outdoors.
Videos shared on social media community forums show officers who appeared to be taking a man in custody outside the mall. Other footage showed shoppers running out of stores or seeking cover.
Luke Lockart, 22, said he was in Armani Exchange, checking out, when he heard screaming and things falling over because people were running into the store and knocking over mannequins.
“They were trying to hide anywhere they could because no one knew what was going on,” said Lockart, who works in real estate.
The staff at the store eventually locked the doors and asked people to go into a back room, he said. Police and first responders were running through a nearby hallway within minutes. “They were on top of it,” Lockart said.
He followed updates on social media, saying “it was a very uneasy feeling” as he spent more than an hour in the store before police escorted everyone out.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava thanked first responders in a tweet posted Saturday evening.
“No one should fear for their safety while simply shopping with their family – we must end the scourge of gun violence that threatens all corners of our community,” she said.
In May 2020, two people were wounded and taken to a hospital after an argument led to a shooting inside the same mall. Police said that shooting also followed an argument.