What was thought to be gunfire at the Florida Mall in Central Florida was actually fireworks Sunday afternoon, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
The firecrackers were set off purposely as a distraction in a jewelery store grand theft. The suspects are still at large.
“Off-duty deputies were there within minutes and were immediately able to determine that there was not a shooting,” sheriff’s office spokesman Jeff Williamson told the Miami Herald.
Though the mall never went on an official lock down, several stores went in to their emergency protocols.
“In the ensuing chaos as individuals attempted to flee, 11 people were injured. Of the 11, six refused treatment and five were transported to area hospitals,” Williamson added.
False rumors of shots fired at a mall were quite common over the weekend. On Saturday night, a fight birthed rumors of a shooting and caused the mall to evacuate and go on lockdown.