Officials in Los Angeles said the Westfield Century City mall was evacuated on March 15 after reports of a man with a gun.
“We are on lockdown sitting quietly waiting for more information,” said Giselle Abcarian, who was at the Zara store, reported the Los Angeles Times. “We saw a bunch of people running and panicked, so we ran to the closest safe place.”
Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum said he was also inside the mall.
The Westfield Century City mall has been evacuated following reports of a man with a gun inside, but police have not confirmed that any shots were fired. “Nothing has been confirmed,” Officer Jeff Lee said. “We’re trying to resolve the situation.” https://t.co/66G2QW7CAC
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) March 15, 2019
“I’m in Los Angeles to film an interview with @billmaher tonight. Stopped by the mall to pick something up and a reported active shooter situation ensued. I’m currently in a secure location,” he wrote.
Los Angeles Police Officer Jeff Lee told the Los Angeles Times that police responded to a call about a gunman at around 12:40 p.m. local time.
Lee told the newspaper that the reports of a gunman were not confirmed.
— Sid Garcia (@abc7sid) March 15, 2019
There were also reports that a man attempted to set a package on fire inside the Amazon store in the mall, according to the Times.
The LAPD bomb squad responded to the scene to inspect the suspicious package, while shoppers were allowed to evacuate. Authorities have not yet announced any suspects.
The incident comes just hours after a mass shooting in New Zealand that killed dozens of people.
LAPD West LA Division is responding to calls of an “Active Shooter” at the Century City Mall. We have officers on scene who are clearing the location, but at this time we have NO evidence of a shooting or victims.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) March 15, 2019
Violent Crime Up
In September 2018, the FBI said Americans committed fewer violent and property crimes across the United States in 2017, according to statistics. The violent crime rate—including offenses such as murder, robbery, and aggravated assault—dropped by almost 1 percent and is still about 4 percent above the 2014 rate. The murder rate dropped by 0.7 percent.
“There were more than 1.2 million violent crimes reported to [the FBI] nationwide in 2017. There was a 0.7 percent decrease in murders and a 4 percent decrease in robberies from 2016 to 2017. Aggravated assaults increased 1 percent in 2017. The FBI began collecting data solely on an updated rape definition last year, and 135,755 rapes were reported to law enforcement in 2017,” the agency said.
Police are responding to a report of a man with a gun at the Westfield City Century mall. At this time, police have no evidence of a shooting or victims. http://4.nbcla.com/mMM8oXA
Of the estimated 17,284 murders in 2017, more than half occurred in larger cities—with populations of more than 100,000.
There are fewer than 300 such cities in the United States, and while they account for less than 30 percent of the country’s population, many of them contribute far beyond their share to national crime rates and have done so for years, even decades.
While the national murder rate inched down to 5.3 per 100,000 residents, it spiked by 15 percent in Philadelphia, to a rate of more than 20 per 100,000 residents. Columbus, Ohio, saw a massive 54 percent murder rate increase, reaching nearly 16.3 per 100,000 residents.
BREAKING: Police are responding to reports of a man with a gun at the Westfield Century City mall. We're working to gather more information. http://bit.ly/2FfFwz6
The murder rate in St. Louis rose by more than 10 percent and reached 66 per 100,000 residents—the highest among larger cities.
Baltimore’s murder rate rose by nearly 8.5 percent, reaching some 56 per 100,000 residents.