Last minute shoppers were seen fleeing out of Roosevelt Field Mall in East Garden City on a busy Christmas Eve afternoon in response to what some people described as the sound of shots being fired in succession near Macy’s in the mall.
In later reports, the sound was determined to be that of a display case falling during an arrest of a shoplifter.
Nassau County Police responded to the Roosevelt Field Mall amid initial reports of shots being fired, though a spokesman for the police department said at the time that investigators had not yet confirmed any shooting there.
A mall spokesman confirmed that it was a shoplifter in Macy's who knocked over a showcase containing glass, which crashed to the floor. He confirmed that the shoplifter had no weapon, and was apprehended by police.
“At 1:16 p.m. we responded to the Roosevelt Field Mall to reports of shots being fired,” police said. “We have no confirmation yet.”
A witness who works at the mall told the Herald that she saw people running, grabbing their belongings in reaction to what sounded to them like a machine gun being fired.
Shopper Anthony Mastroianni, who was shopping there for gifts with his brother, said that he left the mall on foot, along with many other frightened shoppers. "My instinct was to leave," he said. "We heard a loud crash ... it was mass exodus." He reported seeing numerous police cars, ambulances and a helicopter.
The mall reopened shortly before 2 p.m.
Police said that shoppers who dropped their belongings during the incident can claim them at the mall security office or file a police report.