A store manager at Ross Park Mall spoke with reporters about what she saw happen.
- We'll get to Meghan Schiller who is out there on the scene as we speak. Megan.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: Thank you, John. For people that are just tuning in, I want to tell you what I heard when I arrived up at the parking lot near Macy's and JC Penney's. We were there. We were talking with people that were store employees that were just standing in the parking lot. We were listening back to some of the interviews that we had done with store managers when we heard quick gunshots coming from back behind the JC Penney store. From where I was standing, it did not necessarily sound like it was coming from inside the mall but back behind the mall a distance away. That's when we heard and saw all of those police vehicles, including County SWAT, local municipalities that are here racing with their sirens on and their lights on back behind the JC Penney's.
We heard one, then two, then three rounds from where I was standing. Police say right now no information can be provided, but they did say it is a separate incident in the sense that it's in a different location from where that first incident which we have been led to believe by witnesses was a scuffle. We did talk with a manager at one of the stores inside Ross Park at Altered State she described it as a scuffle, a fight that happened out in front of the store. She said, someone yelled the word gun and they have a plan in place in their store when they hear that or there is any threat of a weapon that they will run to the back of the store, hunker down, and she said that's when they received notification that there was a lockdown in the mall.
So right now we've been moved from the parking lot down the hill to Harbor Freight, the old Toys R Us. This is the media staging area. They say right now it's not safe for people to be up in the parking lot because police are zooming by and they are heading where they can go in between these scenes. We're going to stay down here and stay safe and wait for an update from police.
JUIE RUIZ: I was towards the like back of the store and I had a sales associate in front greeting. And we saw a lot of scuffle happen, so like kids fighting in front of the store. And they all had guns on them and security came running towards them and yelled gun. So once we heard gun, my sales associate she saw it and she started running towards the back of the store. And she walkied to me that there was a gun, somebody had a gun. So once you hear gun, everyone goes running. And that's when everyone ran towards the back of the store and we went into lockdown mode.
- Yeah, that was Julie Ruiz the store manager Meghan was referring to it Altered State. Meghan when those shots happened, which was now coming up on about an hour ago that you heard, describe the burst force? Because this wasn't just one shot, pause, one shot. Was it?
MEGHAN SCHILLER: No it was one, two, three, four, five really quick coming from the distance. And it had me pause immediately and I looked and you could see because there were probably three or four crews of reporters and photographers that had just arrived at that specific part of the parking lot. And I looked around and no one else had first had seemed to notice anything. And then we heard maybe one, two, three, four again. And then people started making eye contact. And I said to one of the KDKA photojournalists, that's gunshots.
And then we all of a sudden heard sirens. We looked off to our right which is back behind JC Penney's. And we saw all of the county police officers running from the mall into their vehicles, lights on, sirens on, and then going in a diagonal across the parking lot to where the source of that sound was coming from. But I would say three rounds, John.
- All right. Thanks, Meghan.