A Look At Chaotic Evacuation At NorthPark Center Monday

People panicked after a report of an active shooter. There was no active shooter.

Video Transcript

- The chaotic evacuation of a Dallas mall yesterday. This left families and workers rattled as you'd imagine but some shoppers say that they were herded into an enclosed space and it's a move that they and security experts now question. Andrea Lucia is at North Park Center for us tonight to join us with the answer to their concerns after everything that unfolded.

ANDREA LUCIA: Yeah Doug, you know fortunately there was no shooting. Dallas police determined the sound of someone repeatedly hitting the ground with their skateboard was mistaken for gunfire, but in the moment people believed it was real and many say they had no idea what to do.

- I thought at first there was a fire.

ANDREA LUCIA: The mass evacuation started with a fire alarm.

- Then we heard a scream and that's when everyone ran towards us.

ANDREA LUCIA: Panic took hold as people heard loud booms that sounded like gunfire.

- It could have just been in my head but I swear I heard it.

- There was just people saying go, go.

ANDREA LUCIA: At least half a dozen shoppers told us they were directed, at times by mall employees, toward the center of the mall.

- And then they had us all empty out into a courtyard, which had no exit to get outside of the mall.

- There-- everyone was there.

- And so that's when we kind of got scared. What if the shooter was in the courtyard?

- And now we're all going to be like if it's a shooting, then we're all going to get-- you know we could get shot.

DAVID RIGGALL: It's probably not the best place to send people out into an open area.

ANDREA LUCIA: David Riggall with Sheepdog Defense Group teaches active shooter response. He says, if you're in the immediate area of a shooting run, or otherwise find a safe place to hide.

DAVID RIGGALL: If you get yourself into a place where you can barricade up and buy some time for law enforcement to respond your chances of surviving the encounter are much higher.

ED BACA: To me just running blindly where they don't know where the shooter is, we just opted to stay there.

ANDREA LUCIA: Ed Baca, who was watching a movie with his six-year-old daughter, says they lay on the theater floor and hid under the seats for 30 minutes saying their prayers.

ED BACA: It was intense, yeah.

ANDREA LUCIA: And while there's no guarantee any single tactic will work, everyone here was relieved to get out alive. It was scary?

ED BACA: But we were brave, right? Yeah, I'm very proud of you.

ANDREA LUCIA: And North Park Center says there were many people who did shelter in place throughout the mall, and that that was one of the reasons the investigation took as long as it did yesterday. It did not respond though to our questions about why people were guided to the courtyard, or whether it has a plan to respond to an active shooter situation. Reporting live at North Park Center in Dallas, Andre Lucia, CBS11 News.