A mall in New York's Hudson Valley was evacuated amid reports of a shooting on a crowded holiday-shopping Sunday. Police said a woman and her 12-year-old son were injured and the gunman was still being sought by authorities on Monday.
The shooting was reported around 3:15 p.m. at the Galleria at Crystal Run in Middletown, about 70 miles north of midtown Manhattan. It happened in the area of an American Eagle store.
Leighton Peterson was grabbing a pre-movie bite to eat in the mall's food court around 3:20 when suddenly, he heard alarms, "and all of the employees were telling everybody to get to the exits and evacuate," he told The Associated Press.
As people made orderly progress toward the exits, Peterson thought it might be a fire drill until he heard a worried-looking mall worker mention a shooting, he recalled.
Outside, holiday shoppers lingered at first to see whether there might be an all-clear and reopening. But before long, "it became pretty clear that there was an actual situation happening, so then people started leaving en masse," in a bumper-to-bumper stream out of the packed parking lot, said Peterson, 32, a video editor.
The shooting occurred on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. By mid-day Sunday throngs of shoppers were filling the mall, home to more than 100 tenants, including Macy's, J.C. Penney, and Target. The loud bang from the gunfire sent shoppers scurrying for safety, either by exiting the mall or by hiding in back rooms with store employees.
The Galleria mall also was evacuated during the holiday shopping rush in December 2008, when an odor of gas at a department store forced the shopping center to close early on a Thursday evening.