Official: Multiple shots fired at NJ mall

Published: .
Updated: .

A Bergen County official says a search is under way inside a northern New Jersey mall for a suspect who fired multiple shots just before closing time.

Bergen County spokeswoman Jeanne Baratta tells The Associated Press that authorities believe the suspected shooter is still in the Garden State Plaza Mall early Tuesday. She says SWAT teams are concentrating their search in the northeast corner of the 2.2-million-square-foot mall, near a Nordstrom store.

Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera says the mall remains in lockdown. There are no reports of fatalities or injuries.

Baratta says reports of shots being fired came in shortly before Monday night's 9:30 p.m. closing time at the mall, one of New Jersey's largest and most popular. Witnesses say the gunman fired up to five shots.

"He was wearing all black and what looked like body armor of some kind. It really soon as I saw the gun, I just kind of turned and ran. I didn't really get that great of a look at him. I was just concerned about getting out of there and running into the back of the store," said witness Ally Kozic.

A manager at a Chili's restaurant told The Associated Press the business is on lockdown. She said a manager at Nordstrom ran over to use the phone and said there had been a shooting.

One customer told she was in a clothing store when she saw a man walk by and then heard three shots followed by two more. She said he appeared to be wearing body armor and was wearing a helmet with the visor pulled up.

Other shoppers tweeted that they were escorted from the mall by armed state troopers.

"We were all wondering, the employees were all wondering 'What's going on?' So, we were just telling everyone...they just told everyone to all get out. They were grabbing their kids, grabbing their stuff, they dropped all of their things, and we just saw that and we reacted the same way. We just left. We ran," one person who was inside the mall told CNN.

Paramus is about 20 miles west of Manhattan.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)