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1 person shot at Tacoma Mall in Washington state, authorities say

By Andy Rose, CNN

One person was shot at the Tacoma Mall in Washington state on Friday night, sending shoppers scrambling for safety, officials said.

The Tacoma police department said the victim was taken to a local hospital suffering from serious injuries.

“People were fleeing, sheltering in place and the stores went into lockdown,” Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Sgt. Darren Moss told CNN.

He said the mall was closed as police searched for a suspect. “The scene is still active, and we do not want people responding there,” Moss said.

Bethany Villero, who was shopping at the mall on Black Friday, described a chaotic scene after shots were fired.

“I saw people throwing up, I guess they were so scared,” Villero told CNN.

Villero said she didn’t hear the gunshots as she was leaving the Nordstrom store, but first learned about what happened from a group of young girls leaving the building.

“I heard them behind me, and they were crying and screaming,” Villero said. “A lot of people were coming out of Nordstrom crying and looking terrified.

“It was just chaotic, with people just trying to leave all at once. … The terror on those kids’ faces is the worst part,” she said.

The Tacoma Police Department took unaccompanied minors to a nearby bus station to be picked up. Moss said stores went into lockdown while other shoppers tried to flee the mall.

Law enforcement officers throughout Pierce County were helping Tacoma police search the mall, the county’s sheriff’s department said in a tweet.

The mall is home to more than 150 stores, according to its website.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.

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