Police in Schaumburg, a Chicago, Illinois, suburb, responded to reports that a black Chevy Trailblazer SUV was driving through an indoor shopping mall, beginning its destructive journey inside a Sears store, according to WLS TV News on September 20.
Shoppers who were inside the Woodfield Mall shortly prior to 3 p.m. captured the bizarre scene on video.
One person was reported to be in custody in connection with the automotive rampage, according to WGN TV reporter Vicky Baftiri via Twitter. The WGN reporter also said that two injuries were caused in the incident. However, at about 3:20 local time, Schaumburg police said that no injuries were reported. However, the mall was still being evacuated as of 5 p.m. local time.
The suspect was described as “a young man,” according to WGN TV. Video of the scene showed the man being led out of the mall by police. The suspect appears to have closely cropped hair. At the time of his arrest, he was wearing a red sweatshirt or sweater with a Nike “swoosh” logo across the front of the shirt.
Police clarified that there was no active shooter situation in the mall.
Images published by The Chicago Tribune showed damage at the exterior entrance to the Sears store. The glass doors of the big box store appear to have been completely smashed and destroyed.
The SUV drove through the mall’s lower level, running into several kiosk displays along the way, according to witnesses who spoke to WGN.
One witness told the source that the car plowing through the mall was “definitely intentional, I don’t understand how that could be an accident,” the station’s reporter Ben Bradley quoted via Twitter.
So this just happened at Woodfield. I’m safe. Jesus Christ pic.twitter.com/fOfhtPkWvr— ronin (@nipsfalloff) September 20, 2019
WGN-TV also posted a live video feed from the scene.
Another shopper captured an image that appears to be the crash that finally stopped the black SUV.
my mom is okay the managed to evacuate but the car crashed right in front of my moms store omg pic.twitter.com/CQ6S0sZxlY— sarah ahmad (@sarahhahmad) September 20, 2019
The FBI Chicago office issued a statement saying that there was “no threat to public safety” following the incident, according to WGN, indicating that the bizarre rampage was not part of a larger attack or conspiracy.
“To see all the panic, it was definitely frightening. You hear about this stuff on the news all the time, and wouldn’t expect it to come so close to where you live,” witness Nikko Danz told The Chicago Tribune. “It’s a messed up situation.”
Another witness, named only as Jason, told WBBM TV News that the suspect appeared “dazed and confused” as police took him into custody. Other witnesses described the suspect as calm and “stoic.”
The mall reportedly has remained lockdown ever since the incident took place.
Witnesses said that they initially believed that there was an “active shooter” loose in the mall, and reported hearing shouts of “active shooter” as they hustled toward mall exits. Though police later confirmed that there was no active shooter involved, the mall incident came just seven weeks after two deadly mass shootings took place in the United States in less than 24 hours, including an active shooter inside a WalMart store in El Paso, Texas, per The Inquisitr.
The Woodfield Mall, which debuted in 1971, is the 11th-largest mall in the United States with 2,224,000 square feet of retail space, according to The World Atlas.