Durham mall worker describes scene after 3 shot: ‘Stampedes of people, screaming’

North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – People caught inside the wild shooting scene in Durham’s major mall on Black Friday described a dash for the exits as gunfire was heard with three people shot and three others injured in the evacuation.

Friday’s shooting on the hectic shopping day after Thanksgiving had hundreds of people dash for the exits at The Streets of Southpoint Mall. The evacuation Friday came just over one month after a rumored shooting led to several injured in the crush to escape – including a pregnant woman who police said was trampled.

Photos from inside the mall Friday showed the effort to leave quickly: tables were flipped over and food was left on tables and the floor in the food court as frightened shoppers fled. Video captured inside the mall Friday also included people screaming and running.

Lauren Roper, who works at Madewell in the mall, described the efforts to leave as “stampedes of people – screaming.”

Roper told CBS 17’s Nick Sturdivant she closed the door to the store.

“We just had to yell at people to get back,” she said, adding that it was “terrifying” to be inside the mall.

Roper’s description was similar to the scare in late October, that was caused by a loud noise people mistook for gunfire and began trying to escape the mall.

Friday, the shooting took place in the southern area of the second floor of the mall, according to police.

Melissa Zaman was shopping when the shooting happened. She was in the food court and wearing headphones at the time listening to music.

“I heard something, like, really loud and everyone near me paused and you could see a crowd from the inside of the food court running,” Zaman told CBS 17’s Nick Sturdivant.

She went into a nearby Vans store and described the frenzy to hide.

“They were pushing people into the back into the supply room,” Zaman said about workers in the Vans store.

She said she stayed inside the supply room for “a while” and that people came in “scared (and) some people were crying.”

She also described the mall scene just after the gunfire.

“Everyone was running, some people were crouching behind pillars – people were trying to duck into wherever they could,” Zaman said.

She also said after last month’s false alarm some people were not sure if the Friday incident was real.

April Raphiou said she was approaching the mall to go shopping Friday afternoon when she saw dozens of people running out of the mall into the parking lot. Video captured by Raphiou showed the scene outside the Nordstrom store.

“We were about to go into Southpoint Mall when people started running out. They say there is an active shooter, so stay clear of the area!” Raphiou wrote on Twitter.

Police also said a 10-year-old child was among the three people shot in the mall Friday. One person was detained after the shooting, but several others involved fled, police said.

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