ELIZABETH, NJ - Panic broke out at Jersey Gardens Mall near 5 p.m. Monday when people inside heard what they thought were gunshots, resulting in a stampede that caused several injuries, reportedly including a 12-year-old girl with a broken leg and a girl with head lacerations.
A statement posted on the City of Elizabeth website reports that a fight had broken out and, due to a chair being slammed and making a loud noise, someone shouted “gun,” causing the panic. It said there was no shooting and no shots were fired.
Donald Malone of Roselle was in the mall when he heard what he said sounded like gunshots.
“I was on the first floor near the Lego Store, when all of a sudden, there was a stampede of people running down stairs in all directions, that's when we heard three loud pops and we took cover inside that store," Malone said. " After about 20 minutes, they said it was okay to leave. We then made our way towards the Burlington store when we heard more 'pops' then people running again. We made it back upstairs towards Cohoes where we ran into four troopers with assault rifles drawn who told us to exit the mall.”
Malone guessed that there were thousands of people in Jersey Gardens at the time.
"The parking was so packed, I had to park near the Toys R Us which is a least a half a mile away," he said. "The people around us were pretty much calm and listening to store personnel. We were able to calmly exit, there was no pushing and shoving."