Police: No indication that gunshot was fired at Crabtree Valley Mall
Posted August 14, 2016
Updated August 15, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh police said Sunday that there continues to be no indication that shots were fired during an incident that sent hundreds running from Crabtree Valley Mall Saturday afternoon.
The mall returned to its normal hours of operation Sunday while police continue their investigation into the chaotic scene that unfolded Saturday after shoppers reported hearing gunshots near the food court.
The mall was open from noon to 7 p.m., and people who left behind belongings in their haste to escape were able to retrieve those items in the community room at the Highway 55 restaurant in the food court. Police estimated Sunday evening that about 50 percent of items left behind had been retrieved.
Shoppers who left their belongings inside a particular store were advised to call or visit that store before contacting the lost and found. Shoppers can also call the mall office at 919-787-2506.
“The little one wouldn’t even let us come without him because he wanted to make sure mom and dad were safe,” said Crystal Jastzabski, who returned to the mall Sunday.
Police were called to the Triangle's largest mall just after 2:30 p.m. Saturday on the report of gunshots fired, but, after four hours of searching, they found no shooter, no one who had a gunshot wound and no shell casings.
"We have not determined that there was a shooter," said Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown on Saturday. "We're looking at all possibilities."
Security was increased at the mall Sunday, but police said that after interviewing all witnesses to the incident, there is no indication that a gunshot was fired.
"All known witnesses to yesterday's occurrences have been interviewed and there remains no explanation for the loud noise that people reported," said a press release from the Raleigh Police Department.
Authorities have not confirmed that they are searching for a suspect or whether surveillance video from dozens of cameras inside the mall show anything useful to the investigation.
Mall officials said they have handed over all surveillance video and are fully cooperating with investigators.
Many shoppers on Saturday heard popping sounds they believed to be gunshots, but some were only made aware that something was happening when shoppers started panicking and running.
“Yesterday, there was tables that were knocked down, food that was spilled. I just remember seeing shoes everywhere,” said shopper Myra Thurston. “Human instinct is just take off. Who wants to stand and find out because, nowadays, you have no idea what’s going to be around the corner.”
Wake County EMS said 12 people were transported to the hospital and another nine were treated at the scene. Of those transported, eight had injuries related to the hasty exit, and four were suffering from issues related to heat.
"Certainly when we arrived, the focus is on do we have people who are injured in the process of the event. How serious are those and how many are those, and then a matter of treating and transporting the most serious first and working our way down," said Jeffrey Hammerstein with the Wake County EMS.
Hammerstein said a total of 20 ambulances were deployed as well as an additional nine support units. He says the number sent out on a call is based on the perceived severity of the situation.
No areas inside the mall were closed off to customers Sunday and all stores were open. A few broken table tops in the food court were the only damage reported.
Sunday afternoon, many were still dealing with the trauma of the incident and the fear of what could have happened.
‘I don’t want to relive anything at this point, but I was very happy my two boys were with me and that we were together and the lord is great and he was able to keep us safe through whatever happened yesterday,” Jastzabski said.
The mall was vacated until 8 p.m. Saturday, and parts of Glenwood Avenue were shut down for hours after the incident. Many people weren't able to get to their cars for hours after they evacuated the mall.
A nearby Marriott hotel, firefighters and North Carolina State University all stepped in to help keep people cool as they waited for transportation back to their vehicles in Saturday’s heat.