Raleigh police said early Sunday evening that after interviewing all available witnesses and examining evidence, they cannot trace the loud noise that caused a panicked exit at Crabtree Valley Mall on Saturday to a gunshot.
“All known witnesses to yesterday’s occurrences have been interviewed and there remains no explanation for the loud noise that people reported,” police said in a news release. “After a review of evidence collected at the scene, there continues to be no indication that a gunshot was fired.”
That evidence gathering appeared to include cutting a small square out of the mall’s ceiling about 30 minutes before the shops opened on Sunday. A mall employee used a lift to raise a Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification staffer to the ceiling in front of the Apple Store so he could cut out the 10-by-6-inch section. He briefly shined a flashlight up into the hole before being taken back down.
A few onlookers watched as the section, which had a small piece of green tape on it, was removed. The Apple Store is at the other end of the hall that leads to the food court, where shoppers reported hearing shots ring out at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
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That report led to a lockdown as crowds rushed for exits or took cover in stores. Both sections of Glenwood Avenue, where the mall is located just west of the Beltline, were closed for several hours.
Police said Sunday that no gunshot victims have been found and no arrests made.
The mall’s policy prohibits weapons on the property “concealed or otherwise.”
Eight people were treated for minor injuries suffered during the frenzy to escape the mall, police said. They had no further information Sunday evening on the conditions of the injured.
The mall prepared for its regular Sunday hours – noon to 7 p.m. – with employees getting things in order and shoppers walking about waiting for stores to open. Clerks in several stores – none of whom wanted to be identified – said the mall was busy and shoppers showed little signs of worry over what had happened the previous day. Two clerks said police talked to store employees Sunday to find out what they saw and heard.
A News & Observer reporter who saw the evidence-gathering in front of the Apple Store was escorted off the property after inquiring about it.
“You are not supposed to be on the property without a media pass and none were being issued,” said a security officer.
Mall officials urged shoppers who left property behind on Saturday to go to the community room near the food court to claim it.