Tysons Corner Center reopens as police continue shooting investigation

Crowds outside of Tyson's Corner Center as police clear the mall and investigate a shooting that took place Saturday afternoon. (Photo WTOP / Jessica Kronzer)
Crowds outside of Tyson’s Corner Center as police clear the mall and investigate a shooting that took place Saturday afternoon. (Photo WTOP / Jessica Kronzer)
Panicked shoppers and employees fled Tysons Corner Center in Tysons Corner, Virginia, Saturday afternoon, after shots were fired inside the mall.

The mall was closed the remainder of Saturday as police investigate the shooting, but it reopened around 11 a.m. Sunday. On Saturday evening, law enforcement remained on scene at Tysons collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses and ensuring people who had sheltered inside the mall were able to leave safely.

Executive Deputy Chief Brian Riley of the Fairfax County Police said three people had been transported to hospital for injuries sustained while fleeing the mall, but there is “nobody that’s been injured from gunfire.”

At a news conference, Fairfax police said they were going through footage from hundreds of security cameras and were speaking to several witnesses who had stayed behind to share what they saw.

According to police, a fight had broken out between a small group on a walkway on the second floor of the mall near Macy’s, when a man described as a Black male wearing a black hoodie and jeans brandished a firearm and discharged it.

Police say they may have identified suspects and a vehicle involved with the shooting, but the investigation is still active and they will not release information at this time.

Fairfax County Chief Kevin Davis said people at the mall, shoppers, employees, mall security and local law enforcement did an “exemplary” job of coordinating as the shooting took place and in its aftermath.

“We’re always fortunate if there’s not an injury, when shots ring out inside of a shopping center here or anywhere else in America, and no one suffers a fatal or a non-fatal gunshot wound,” Davis said. “What’s not a good thing, is that it happened.”

The chief said that, after recent shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, police training for these kind of events has drastically increased.

“We join thousands of police departments across the country, as we prepare for acts of violence, a.k.a. active shootings,” said Davis. “It’s happening at a relentless rate, it seems, across this country. And it can happen anywhere.”

As the shooting occurred, many employees and shoppers at Tysons fled the mall into the parking lot and neighboring areas. Others locked up shops and sheltered in place when they heard the mall’s emergency alarm system activated.

Some of the initial panic was captured by users on Twitter:

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein spoke to a witness who said he saw the shooting take place.

“We were walking in the mall, then on the opposite side, about four or five male adults … they were going pretty quick and they started to run. And they ran in front of us, cut through right in the middle, and they were there,” he said. “I heard a gunshot. I saw smoke coming out from the shot. My wife grabbed me and went inside to Brooks. And we were there for about a couple hours.”

An employee at KasiWax told Augenstein she was with a client when she got word of the shooting.

“We just closed the doors and stayed put until we heard an update from the Fairfax police,” the employee said. “They told us to evacuate about 20 minutes ago. So we were waiting for security to walk us outside.”

After the had been cleared, crowds remained outside to await updates from police and the status of others who had remained inside the mall.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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