Florida

A loud ‘bang’ at the Town Center Mall, a head injury, but no shooting, cops say

People comforts each other at the Boca Raton Town Center mall after reports of an active shooter on Sunday October 13,2019. ...SOUTH FLORIDA OUT; NO MAGS; NO SALES; NO INTERNET; NO TV...
People comforts each other at the Boca Raton Town Center mall after reports of an active shooter on Sunday October 13,2019. ...SOUTH FLORIDA OUT; NO MAGS; NO SALES; NO INTERNET; NO TV... South Florida Sun Sentinel

The original report to police came in as shots fired at the Town Center Mall Sunday afternoon, and someone did suffer a head injury, Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said.

But Alexander said Sunday night there’s no evidence there was an active shooter or even that anyone fired a gun.

As for the person taken to Delray Medical Center, Alexander said, “What we’ve learned is he sustained a trauma injury after hitting his head on a door. Our detectives were able to recover blood and hair on that door. That seems to be the source of his injury.

“We did not identity a suspect. We did not identify that any gunshots were fired, relative to finding shell casings, rounds. We have received some tips centered around a loud noise.”

Alexander said early review of surveillance video shows people turning, seemingly in reaction to a loud sound.

Alexander’s nighttime update clarified why he made sure the media at his 5:40 p.m. update understood he said someone suffered a trauma injury, not a gunshot wound.

In fact, just over an hour after announcing via Twitter that one person had suffered a gunshot wound, Boca Raton police tweeted “Correction, one person with a POSSIBLE gunshot wound...”

From just after the 3 p.m. report of shots fired to about 4:30 p.m., rumors flew via social media there was an active shooter at the mall. Shoppers posted videos of people running or standing in stores while SWAT teams searched the mall.

Boca Raton police handled updates via social media with swift dexterity, even taking the time to correct one false rumor of two men handcuffed in makeup store Sephora. But they might have given the shooter rumors an unintentional boost when they tweeted they were “working an active incident.”

It was an “active incident” but not an “active shooter,” not a difference everyone quickly recognizes.

Shoppers were evacuated from the mall, 6000 Glades Rd., or wound up staying in the stores until SWAT teams came to help them evacuate.

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Anyone who knew anything about the incident was asked to call 561-416-3359.

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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