Glass cases being smashed during an attempted robbery at a jewelry store in a popular Texas mall on Saturday were misconstrued as gunfire and sent people running for the exits, according to the authorities and witnesses.
All known suspects in the attempted robbery at the La Plaza Mall in McAllen were taken into custody, the city’s police chief, Victor Rodriguez, said in a statement that the city government posted on Twitter.
Madeline Madden, a 17-year-old from McAllen, told The Monitor of McAllen that she was inside Glitz and Glamour, a boutique just across from the mall, when she saw people rush out of the mall and into the parking lot.
She said one frightened couple ran into the boutique seeking safety.
“The man and his wife came in with their kids and asked if they were going to lock the door, and they told us what happened … that there had been a shooting,” Madden said. “They were trying to get away. The wife was crying and the man looked really nervous. They had a newborn and a toddler with them, and the toddler was crying. Someone else came and had cuts all over them from falling. We had to lock the doors and wouldn’t let anyone else into the store.”
Several law enforcement agencies rushed to the scene, including officers from the McAllen Police Department, Hidalgo County sheriff’s office and Texas Department of Public Safety.
Dispatchers with McAllen police and the Hidalgo County sheriff’s office declined to answer questions when reached by phone.
The mall is one of the primary shopping centers in the Rio Grande Valley. McAllen is near the border with Mexico and about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of the Gulf Coast.