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Botched gun sale prompts panic at Gardens Mall

Posted at 5:40 PM, Nov 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 19:34:50-05

For the second time in 10 days, there were panicked shoppers Monday night inside The Gardens Mall.

This time, a gun transaction turned violent in the mall parking lot, leading to potentially two armed people running through the mall.
Jen Constanzo followed a janitor to safety Monday. 
“We left our purses and our phones and pretty much everything and ran into the back office with her,” Constanzo said. 

Police never put the mall on lockdown, but according to shoppers, some stores locked their doors with customers inside. 

“We kept hearing booms and we thought it was shots fired but it was just doors slamming,” Constanzo said. 

On Monday at 5 p.m., police said three people from out of town agreed to meet at the mall to sell a gun.

The mall is a halfway point. A fight broke out in a car in the parking lot and two of the people ran through the mall, and into a car. They haven’t been found. 

The third person involved told police there was a handgun with the two who got away. 

Earlier in the month, police said a man fired at a white Audi in the mall parking lot outside of the food court.  Two men were charged in the Nov. 17 incident.

Andrew: “Was there a heightened response to this considering what happened earlier this month here?”

Major Ed Guillen from the Palm Beach Gardes Police Department said, “No. The response is what we do here in Palm Beach Gardens. We train, make sure that our public is safe and especially during this holiday time, we know it’s going to be busy. We train heavily for these kinds of situations.” 
Stuart Kaplan, a former FBI agent, says if you find yourself in a potential life-threatening situation in a public place, like a mall, do your best to get out.
“Hopefully we can take away that we are not immune from something happening here at home and we need to pay more attention to ourselves, to the people we’re with and also have a plan in place,” said Kaplan.

No one was hurt, and police haven’t arrested anyone.
The mall later reopened for regular business.

Tuesday the mall issued the following statement:

Yesterday afternoon three individuals met in our parking lot to complete a prearranged transaction involving the sale of a firearm. The transaction, between the individuals who knew each other, turned into an altercation.

In an effort to err on the side of caution, the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department and our security team, reacted out of concern for the interests and safety of The Gardens Mall employees and guests with their response and strong presence.

We want to assure everyone the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department as well as The Gardens Mall Security Department will continue to keep public safety as our primary concern as we have for the past 30 years. We will continue to evaluate our security processes and procedures.



In lockdown in the back of Gap at the mall everyone is somewhere different

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