A shooting inside Oakridge Mall in South San Jose caused panic Monday, forcing hundreds of shoppers to shelter inside stores or flee the building on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
The incident occurred around 6 p.m. when police said they got reports of a shooting inside the mall, just outside the Forever 21 store. Police found evidence at that location that a shooting occurred, according to a police spokesman.
Officers spent hours searching the mall for a shooter and a victim, but did not find either one.
“It was a very chaotic scene for the first arriving officers,” police spokesman Sgt. Christian Camarillo said. "It was pandemonium. ... Very lucky an innocent bystander did not get shot."
Jasmine Tiana Constantine works inside the mall and said she rushed to get her employees and customers out through the back door.
“One of my associates was actually panicking and was like why is everybody running, and my first instinct was like, ‘I have to evacuate the store,’” she said. “I had to quickly round up everybody because we can’t barricade in our store, so I had to quickly grab my keys and then open the back door and evacuate.”
People at the mall were instructed to shelter-in-place if they could and wait for officers to find them.
A reunification center was set up in the Home Depot parking lot, located in the 900 block of Blossom Hill Road.
Police found shell casings from a handgun – but it’s unclear if anyone was hit. Police obtained surveillance video but aren’t releasing what they saw.
They do say it appears to be an isolated incident and was not an active shooter situation.
Officers kept surrounding intersections and even freeway exits to Oakridge blocked off – as officers checked inside the mall.
“They are being careful, going through the mall,” said Camarillo. “We expect to encounter a lot of innocent people who got caught up in this mess, but they also have to be very aware because there could still be an armed suspect somewhere inside this mall. We are not going to give the all clear until we search every corner of this mall.”
This comes just over a month after the Great Mall in Milpitas was put on lockdown for a report of shots fired inside.
Investigators found it was actually a fight and loud noise that caused panic.
Three teens were detained.
Back at Oakridge, police gave the all clear just before 10 p.m.
The investigation into who fired those shots continues.