Gunfire scatters shoppers at Mall of America; 2 suspects at large

A member of law enforcement talks on the phone
A member of law enforcement talks on the phone inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., after a lockdown occurred on Thursday.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Updated 8:32 p.m.

The Mall of America went into lockdown Thursday afternoon as gunfire sent shoppers running for cover just after 4 p.m. Authorities say no one was injured.

Social media postings showed people streaming out of the building and officers with rifles going in. Shouting and multiple gunshots could be heard in a video posted to social media made near the second floor West Market Nike store.

Speaking to reporters hours after the incident, Bloomington police chief Booker Hodges said two groups of people ended up in an altercation by the cashier at the Nike store. One group left but then returned; one in that group fired three shots from a handgun into the store, Hodges said.

A Bloomington police officer on the scene heard the shots and responded within 30 seconds, he added.

Law enforcement officers stand outside a store with the Nike logo
Law enforcement officers stand outside a Nike store inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. on Thursday.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Two suspects remain at-large — an attempt to find them at a local hotel didn’t pan out — and Hodges called on them to turn themselves in, vowing that police “will not stop until we lock you up. We cannot continue to have this disregard for human life.”

The chief described it as an “isolated incident” and said he doesn’t believe there’s an immediate danger to the public. He urged anyone with information to contact Bloomington police.

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‘All of a sudden everyone was running’

People inside a locked store
People look out from a locked-down store inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. on Thursday.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

The mall began lifting the lockdown around 6:30 p.m. but confirmed it will remain closed for the evening. Mall officials later said later MOA would reopen Friday and shoppers would see a larger security presence.

Brevin Monroe works at a luggage store at the mall and said shortly after 4 p.m. there was an announcement over the public address system telling people to take shelter in place and that suddenly people were shouting and running through the mall. He said he was alone in the store when he locked it up. 

Kara Schroeder and her daughter hid in the bathroom as shoppers started fleeing the mall.

“We were upstairs on the third level food court and we came out of the bathroom and all of a sudden everyone was running, so we just followed where they were going,” she said. “We went to the back area where they have the staff and we hid in the bathroom until we heard someone say, ‘Follow us to a secure area.’”

A far away photo of police cars near the MOA
A view outside of Wisdom Gaming on the fifth floor at Mall of America. The Mall of America went into lockdown on Thursday.
Courtesy of Jake Neerland.

Hayley Lewis was shopping at American Eagle when she was told to run into the back storage room.

“We're just kind of shopping around and then all of sudden employees started ushering us to the back, they were all very calm about it we did not really know what was going on, did not get a whole lot of details.”

Lewis said employees locked up and watched the store's security footage as they waited for authorities to give them the all-clear.

In a statement later, Gov. Tim Walz said he was in contact with Bloomington police and that “state resources” were on the scene. He called the gunfire “brazen” and “unacceptable.”

It is the second such incident at the Mall of America in nine months. On New Year’s Eve in December, 18-year-old Kahlil Wiley opened fire at two men near a mall food court, seriously wounding one of them, sending shoppers scurrying for cover and shutting down the mall as a New Year’s Eve party was about to start. 

Three people were also wounded in a 1993 shooting at the mall’s amusement park, then named Camp Snoopy, in a dispute over a jacket. 

MPR News reporters Estelle Timar-Wilcox and Linton Ritchie Jr. contributed to this report.