(Trends Wide) — One person was shot at the Tacoma Mall in Washington state on Friday night, prompting shoppers to fight for their safety, authorities said.
The Tacoma Police Department said the victim was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.
“People were running away, sheltering in place and stores were closed,” Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Darren Moss told Trends Wide.
Moss said the mall was closed while police searched for a suspect. “The scene is still active and we don’t want people to respond there,” Moss said Friday night.
Bethany Villero, who was shopping at the mall this Black Friday, described a chaotic scene after they shot up.
“I saw people throwing up, I guess they were very scared,” Villero told Trends Wide.
Villero said he did not hear the shots as he left the Nordstrom store, but he first learned of what happened from a group of girls leaving the building.
“I heard them behind me, and they were crying and screaming,” Villero said. “A lot of people left Nordstrom crying and looking terrified.”
“It was just chaotic, with people trying to get away at once … The terror on those children’s faces is the worst part,” he said.
The Tacoma Police Department took the unaccompanied minors to a nearby bus station for pickup. Moss said stores were closed as other shoppers tried to flee the mall.
Law enforcement officers throughout Pierce County were helping Tacoma police search the mall, the county sheriff’s department said in a tweet.
The mall is home to more than 150 stores, according to its website.
Trends Wide’s Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.