Willowbrook Mall reopens after panic caused by thrown chairs mistaken for gunshots
The Willowbrook Mall reopened at 10 a.m. Monday after police say a loud fight Sunday prompted false reports of a shooting.
Authorities say that a crowd confused the sound of chairs crashing into the ground with gunshots, leading to panic.
Wayne Police Capt. Lawrence Martin said that people yelled "shots fired" after hearing the noise of the chairs being thrown. Police found that no shots were fired, but that two men and a boy got into a fight with another boy and his mother and father.
News 12 New Jersey spoke with one of the people involved in the fight, who says that it started when someone asked him what he was looking at.
The loud noises caused panic inside the mall. Some people hid inside stores, while others ran outside.
"It was frightening and scary," says Renee Yaniero, of Paterson. "You hear so much about all these shootings at the malls, you just don't know what will happen."
Police shut down parts of the mall to investigate, but cleared the scene a few minutes later.
Investigators are still determining whether anyone will be charged. Two people reported minor injuries.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.