There’s been a report of shots fired at the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, NJ. According to CNN, an employee heard “6-7 shots” around 9:20 p.m. (all times ET). The shooting began outside Nordstrom’s on the mall’s second level, shortly before the mall was to have closed at 9:30 p.m. Witnesses reported a man “dressed in all black” and carrying a “large gun” or a “rifle” who fired shots into the air as he approached the mall entrance to Nordstrom’s. There are reports (unconfirmed as always) of body armor and a helmet. The mall is currently on lockdown. SWAT teams arrived on scene at 10:03 p.m., and according to CBS, police sources told WCBS 880′s Steve Scott there was still an active shooter at the mall as of 10:15 p.m., and people had been hit. (Early reports of injuries have been firmly denied. There are no reported injuries at this time.)
Updates after the jump…
2232 update: CNN has a crawl that quotes the NJ State Police that there are “no reported injuries.”
2240 update: The gunman was reportedly shooting at security cameras, not people. A mall employee who got an up-close look at the gunman described him as tall, wearing a black motorcycle helmet and black leather jacket, and carrying a long gun.
2245 update: Bergen county officials have told CNN that the suspect is still inside the mall, SWAT officers are doing a “store-by-store” sweep at this time.
2300 update: Still no reports of any injuries. A couple of reports that before he started shooting, he told some people “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt anyone” and then started shooting at the security cameras. Early reports of body armor have been revised to the previously mentioned motorcycle helmet and leather jacket. Police have confirmed he is still in the mall, nothing further.
2315 update: The Mayor of Paramus has said that only one shell casing was found inside the mall, and also that he believes the shooter has left the mall. No one, repeat, no one else is saying that last part. We may have entered the “Speculation Zone.”
Police are sending in what is reported to be a remote control camera.
2335 update: An up-close witness was interviewed on camera who said that it appeared the gunman was in the mall with other people, and reported one man had a semi-automatic rifle and the other man had a long gun of indeterminate type. He said he heard two distinct reports, one of which he described as sounding like a shotgun. This is the first and only report of multiple gunmen thus far. The witness (who is apparently ex-Navy) used the term “semi-automatic rifle” several times, stressing it even more forcefully after the reporter interviewing him said “assault rifle.” Good for him.
2359 update: The Mayor of Paramus Township told Anderson Cooper that police believe the shooter has left the mall, saying “this is no longer an active shooter situation, but it is an active crime scene investigation.” He’s been saying that for almost an hour, and he’s still not very confidence inspiring. He did stress, once again, that there have been zero reported injuries.
0015 update: It seems confirmed that police believe the shooter is no longer on the premises, and they are now doing a slow and cautious sweep to get the rest of the mall employees and patrons out. Most of the news stations have cut their live feeds and are showing tape of earlier interviews, so this will be the final update. Anything further of note will be a separate post.