OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Chaos erupted inside a metro Oklahoma City mall.
Among the rush for last minute holiday gifts, a gunman opened fire inside Penn Square Mall.
Police gave their last update of the night around 8:30 p.m., telling News 4 the shooting suspect was seen on video surveillance leaving the mall.
“It’s kind of surreal because you don’t really know what to do in that moment,” said Amari Lafevers, who was inside JCPenney.
One person was struck in the chest and rushed to the hospital, all while shoppers and mall employees ran for their lives, not knowing if it was a mass shooter or an isolated incident.
“We were running the whole way til we got out of the exit. There was no waiting. Somebody showed us an exit and everybody ran down the stairs. We didn’t know where we were going, if we were being cornered into this bathroom where there’s no way out. One of the workers said this is the way out,” said Sidney Schumacher and her mother Lucy, who were both in the food court when the shooting happened.
Oklahoma City Police and Fire swarmed the scene. SWAT team forced their way in, making their way store by store, searching for the suspect.
Police updated News 4 every 30 minutes as the situation continued to unfold.
“They have cleared all the businesses and they have confirmed on video that the suspect has left the scene. He left the mall shortly after the fight occurred and the shooting,” said Oklahoma City Police Chief Larry Withrow.
Innocent bystanders hid behind store counters and inside closets, even barricading themselves in bathrooms, hoping and praying to get back to their loved ones safely.
One employee is even sending a message to the shooter.
“I just [wonder] for what reason? What goes through your head when you do that? What do you do when you wake up in the morning and you think about that kind of stuff? I just can’t imagine wanting to go and do that to somebody or even threaten someone to do that. It’s just, I don’t understand. It’s evil. That’s all I can say about it,” Lafevers said.
The suspect is described as a husky black male wearing no shirt with a visible tattoo on his left shoulder. He had on gray sweatpants and exposed red underwear. He only had one shoe on when he was last seen.
The victim is currently in critical condition.