San Diego County

False Report of Shooting at Plaza Bonita Mall Causes Panic. Here Are Some Tips For Shoppers

Public safety experts are reminding people of safety tips while in large crowds during this holiday season

NBC Universal, Inc.

On Saturday a false report of a shooting at the Plaza Bonita mall caused many people to run and shout while evacuating.

“I just saw people screaming and people running, and I was just like what’s going on and I was just scared,” Brianna Barrientos said.

Safety experts urge people to be aware of their surroundings during chaotic situations.

“In any situation it’s very important to emphasize the number one most important thing you can do for yourself to ensure your own safety first. You are not a first responder, you are not emergency personnel you should ensure your own safety,” Director of Training at Cohen Security Matthew Johnson said.  

Some store owners and employees sheltered in place during the incident.

“Some people panicked and ran and she wasn’t sure what was happening so she grabbed the lady from the kiosk shut the store down, went to the back and just waited it out,” Pin Up Style and Boutique employee Avril Villanueva said.

Johnson believes the actions of employees at Plaza Bonita helped during Saturday’s incident and will be helpful if there’s another incident in the future.

“I read a couple reports about staff members that were calm they noticed a couple of people were panicking and they stepped aside and directed them the right way and that’s the best you can do in these types of situations,” Johnson said.

The incident at Plaza Bonita mall comes the same week there was a smash and grab at a jewelry kiosk at the same mall.

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