|NJ Mall on Lockdown After Shooting, Gunman on the Loose|
|By ANTHONY CASTELLANO (@AntCastellano) , JOSH MARGOLIN (@JoshMargolin) and MIKE LEVINE (@mlevinereports)||Nov 4, 2013, 10:29 PM|
The Garden State Plaza Mall in New Jersey is in lockdown after a single shot was fired at the complex at about 9 p.m. this evening, city officials said.
Authorities believe the shooter has left the area and people are only being allowed in and out of the mall with police escort, Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera said at a news conference. Authorities are searching the mall, in the event the shooter is still inside.
Police have found a single shell casing from the shooting although witnesses reported hearing multiple shots.
There have been no reported injuries at this time.
The shooter is reported to be male, armed with some kind of rifle or shotgun, wearing a motorcycle-style helmet and black clothing, according to an alert that law enforcement from Bergen County issued shortly after 11 p.m.
County spokeswoman Jeanne Baratta said the first call came in shortly after 9 p.m.: "Gunman inside the mall." She said SWAT teams responded to the area around Nordstrom at the mall.
"I saw like 20 police officers running with what looked like machine guns, just running into the mall," an unidentified witness told ABC News Radio.
Initial reports from authorities responding to the scene had witnesses describing a potential shooter wearing tactical gear, with a backpack and wearing a helmet, a federal law enforcement source told ABC News.
Police initially responded to an "active shooter" alert after reports of multiple shots at the Garden State Plaza Mall at about 9 p.m. this evening, authorities said.
Several mall employees ran to the Chili's Grill & Bar. A Chili's employee who identified himself only as Sean told ABC News that about 30 patrons and employees are holed up in the restaurant, which is about 100 yards from the mall.
The Garden State Mall, about 25 miles west of New York City, features more than 300 retail stores including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.