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Town Center at Boca Raton shoppers 'run and hide' during active shooter scare

Posted at 9:55 PM, Oct 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 05:10:08-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Law enforcement is still actively investigating what they call a “suspicious incident” in the food court at the Town Center at Boca Raton.

Police Chief Dan Alexander says the level of law enforcement response shows that their training is paying of, but it’s the same story for shoppers.

Related: Police determine panic at Town Center Mall in Boca Raton was not caused by gunfire

It was a late lunch at the Town Center at Boca Raton food court people say they’ll never forget.

"We were just having lunch one minute and the next we’re just fearing - wondering what was going on," said Kimberly Murphey.

"All of a sudden people started running," added Nadine Devay, another Town Center shopper.

Murphey, a substitute teacher who was having lunch with colleague Shari Murria, has practiced active shooter drills in the past and put the “run and hide” training to work.

"Go to the bathroom - lock the door," said Murria. "It’s just really scary. You don’t expect it. You think you’re safe. My kids at home thinking mom is eating lunch - and you never know."

WPTV attained exclusive video of dozens of others who ran down the mall corridor into a nearby Apple Store to seek shelter under tables in the back of the store.

”It was just pandemonium and confusion,” said Gary Brown, an Apple Store customer.

Brown says the store’s employee’s kept crowds calm and secured the store’s glass doors.

"They closed it with a security guard back there," said Brown. "They were very much under control and they were very well rehearsed."

He also says employees treated minor injuries and bruises with ice.

"They went to the ground - their knees - people trampled into each other. Not on purpose," said Brown. "People had cuts."

Law enforcement says most of the mall was cleared an hour-and-a-half after the building was supposed to close. But Chief Alexander said SWAT teams worked into the night clearing every single space to find every person who hid after what he calls a “suspicious incident” that remains under investigation.

"Unfortunately in the culture we live right now it was almost just second nature - people just ran," Brown added.

Brown also wants to thank law enforcement for their almost immediate response and Apple Store employees for keeping countless people calm.