- (Photo: Reuters/Evan Semon)
An L.A. mall has been evacuated on Sunday after a bomb scare sent panic through shoppers and retail staff at the location.
The evacuation saw scared shoppers running for the exits at the Beverly Center in the early afternoon on Sunday when an announcement was made over the loudspeakers at the center.
Shoppers were immediately warned that the evacuation was not a drill and that everyone had to exit immediately.
That announcement reportedly saw staff at stores quickly locking up their registers and ushering shoppers out of their shops so that they could make a run for the exits.
Christina, a 17-year-old from Florida, was one of those evacuated from the store, and she reported to The Washington Post: "No one knew what was going on — someone said it was a fire, someone said it was a person with a gun."
She added, "It was chaotic, crazy! We love the Beverly Center, but it was terrifying."
Later it was confirmed that there was no shooter in the mall, but rather a suspicious package had been found and looked worrying enough that a bomb squad was called in and hundreds of shoppers were evacuated.
According to the Washington Post, a man had reported that his car, parked on the first level of the parking lot, had been moved from where he had parked it, and that his briefcase had been moved inside the vehicle.
The man also informed authorities that he was involved in a "personal feud" and that he was concerned that the strange movement of his possessions could be part of something more sinister to put him in danger.
In total about 1,300 people were said to have been evacuated from mall, and a bomb squad was dispatched. The bomb experts used a robot to detonate the case at about 4:30 p.m.
No explosives were found in the suitcase, and shop employees were later allowed back inside the mall at about 5 p.m.
Investigators are still conducting their work and examining surveillance video footage.