“People were fleeing, sheltering in place and the stores went into lockdown,” Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Sgt. Darren Moss told CNN.
He said the mall was closed as police searched for a suspect. “The scene is still active, and we do not want people responding there,” Moss said.
Bethany Villero, who was shopping at the mall on Black Friday, described a chaotic scene after shots were fired.
“I saw people throwing up, I guess they were so scared,” Villero told CNN.
Villero said she didn’t hear the gunshots as she was leaving the Nordstrom store, but first learned about what happened from a group of young girls leaving the building.
“I heard them behind me, and they were crying and screaming,” Villero said. “A lot of people were coming out of Nordstrom crying and looking terrified.
“It was just chaotic, with people just trying to leave all at once. … The terror on those kids’ faces is the worst part,” she said.
The Tacoma Police Department took unaccompanied minors to a nearby bus station to be picked up. Moss said stores went into lockdown while other shoppers tried to flee the mall.