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1 person shot at Galleria Dallas mall; police say shooter is at large

A file image of the Galleria Dallas mall, where a shooting on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, prompted more than a dozen police units to respond. (Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News/TNS)

One person was wounded as shots rang out at the Galleria Dallas mall Tuesday evening, sending panicked shoppers running for stairwells and freight elevators.

Police said it wasn’t an active-shooter situation but that they were searching the mall for the shooter, who remained at large.

Officers could be seen directing shoppers away from the building as they evacuated the mall.

The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in an unknown condition, police said.

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Officers were called about 6:45 p.m. Central time to a shooting at the mall, in the 13300 block of Dallas Parkway in Far North Dallas.

Hannah DeClerk, 33, of Dallas said she was in the Bath & Body Works on the second floor when she heard at least five or six shots fired outside the nearby Nordstrom. She said she was able to leave the store through a back stairwell.

The mall was busy, she said, and lots of people had been in lines waiting to get into stores.

DeClerk said she didn’t see anyone wounded but heard screaming. “You could smell the gunpowder,” she said.

When she got outside, people were “just devastated” by what they had experienced. “It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever been in,” she said.

Sabrena Moore, 23, was shopping at H&M on the second floor when she heard gunshots.

“I started running toward the fire escape, because that’s the nearest exit that I saw,” she said.

She and several other people ended up taking a freight elevator that led to a parking garage, where she saw a wounded man.

Moore said she was shaken by the incident, but it felt familiar — she had run when an active shooter was reported at Mississippi State University a few years ago, when she was a student.

“I remember calling my mom when it happened last time, and I did the same thing this time. I immediately called my mom,” she said.

Andria Gaither, 38, was working at Express, checking out one of her last customers of the day, when she heard a commotion and someone screamed that there was a shooter.

Gaither grabbed the customer and they ran to a back hallway. They started speaking through a wall with other people hiding in the back of the Zumiez store, and eventually went to hide with them.

“We called Dallas police, and they told us to stay where we were,” Gaither said, adding that they later rode a freight elevator to get to safety.

She left the store open and her purse and phone upstairs, she said. She borrowed someone’s phone to call her mom, who came to pick her up.

Yvonne Ruiz and Laila Dilawar were in Finish Line when they heard the gunfire.

They sheltered in the back of the store for 20 minutes before they were allowed to leave the mall’s south exit. They credited the store’s safety protocols for keeping them safe, but were still upset by the shooting.

“This thing happens more often than it should,” Dilawar said.

Daniel Evans, manager of the Grand Lux Cafe, waited outside about 9 p.m. with his staff. Mall staff members have to park in specific garages, he said, so they weren’t been able to get back to their cars while police investigated.

He was talking with a regular customer when he heard yelling and gunfire. As he and a few other people went to lock the doors to the restaurant, three Dallas officers came up to tell them to clear the building.

“I get that, but I can’t leave, I’ve got to make sure I’ve got all my staff out,” he recalled saying.

He and the staff all made it out safely.

“They’re good, so I’m good,” said Evans, 39. “Just trying to make the best of the situation instead of freaking out.”

Stores at the Galleria are currently allowed to open to 50% of capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the end of May, about three-quarters of the stores had opened.

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©2020 The Dallas Morning News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.