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Long Island mall reopens after gunshot-like noise triggers 15-minute lockdown

By Haley Draznin, CNN
updated 9:34 PM EST, Tue December 24, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A gunshot-like noise came from a display case crashing to the floor
  • A shoplifter knocked over the case, police say
  • "People were screaming, 'There's a gunman, there's gunshots,'" one shopper says
  • Stores were told to close and the mall was put on lockdown, reopening about 2 p.m.

New York (CNN) -- A loud noise mistaken for gunshots startled last-minute Christmas shoppers inside a Long Island mall and triggered a brief lockdown Tuesday -- all apparently due to a clumsy shoplifter, according to mall and police officials.

Shopper Yumna Rizvi was inside Macy's when the chaos broke out.

"All of a sudden we just saw a swarm of people just running and pushing it was like a stampede," Rizvi said, "People were screaming, 'There's a gunman, there's gunshots.'"

A shoplifter knocked over a display case inside Macy's department store at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, and the display crashing to the floor caused the noise, a mall spokesman said.

The mall was placed on lockdown briefly, but then reopened around 2 p.m., according to a mall security spokesman.

Stores were told to shut down, people ran out, but the mall was never completely evacuated, according to two mall officials who did not want to be identified by name.

Rosemarie Sagese was near Macy's when she first heard reports of gunshots. She said the mall wasn't extremely crowded, but once everyone started running it was chaos.

"It was the scariest moment of my life, without a doubt," Sagese said.

The alleged shoplifter was apprehended, according to a mall spokesperson. The suspect had resisted arrest, and that situation led to the display case being knocked over, police said Tuesday afternoon.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, according to Jean Deluca, a spokeswoman for Nassau County Police Department. Three people fell on their hurried way out of the mall and suffered minor injuries; all three were treated and released, police said.

Macy's did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

This incident follows a fatal shooting at a New Jersey mall earlier this month.

In September, the Roosevelt Field Mall was on lockdown at the request of police after a man shot and killed a business associate in a nearby building.

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