EVERETT — Panic and chaos erupted inside the Everett Mall when a suspected shoplifter, during a struggle, fired a gun inside Macy’s Tuesday.
“We saw a lot of people flooding out of Macy’s. We knew something wasn’t right,” said witness Ron Detrick.
All it took was one gunshot, and dozens of shoppers and employees dashed out of the department store, across a parking lot and many hid inside a Goodyear tire store.
“People started running up to the building. There was this big panic. They said, ‘Close your doors, lock your doors, there has been a shooting,’” said Goodyear store manager Paul Hansen.
Everett police say at about 5:45 p.m. a Macy’s employee alerted security about a suspected shoplifter who was just about to make his getaway. The guards confronted the man.
“A struggle ensued and during the struggle the suspect pulled out a gun and one shot was fired,” Everett police spokesman Aaron Snell said.
The bullet hit a door frame and nothing else. In scanner audio, police could be heard alerting dispatch shortly after the suspect was arrested.
“I have a gun on the floor. Shots were fired inside the mall. We have a male detained inside. He has cuffs, to his knees, saying he can’t breathe,” said one officer.
Police say it’s rare for a shoplifting case to escalate to this level. It was traumatizing for so many.
“Oh my gosh, we talked to this one woman who found shelter inside a dressing room. She said she stayed there for a couple of seconds with her feet up on the seats and was just waiting to be cleared,” Detrick said.
The man arrested is a 26-year-old from Everett; he was taken to Providence Medical Center-Colby Campus for non-life threatening injuries. Macy’s security guards suffered minor injuries due to the fight.
Macy’s closed early but the rest of the mall stayed open. Everett Mall will open at their normal time on Wednesday.