False reports of an active shooter and the resulting lockdown of the Westfield Culver City mall ended with panicked shoppers and up to 50 teens fighting in a parking lot.
There were reports some officers used tear gas to subdue the crowd, but no arrests or injuries were made.
The entire disturbance Saturday evening was similar to false-shooter reports that led to fights across the nation just after Christmas at crowded malls in at least five other cities. It also came one day after an all-too real gunman murdered five people at baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport in southern Florida.
The Culver City incident in Fox Hills near Sepulveda Boulevard and Slauson Avenue began at 5 p.m. Saturday when police got the call about the alleged shooter, Culver City police told reporters.
The situation was aggravated by postings on social media that some type of “fight event” was happening at the mall, witnesses said.
Several stores closed their doors to customers while police searched for a possible suspect. But officers said they found no weapons and no evidence of an active shooter.
“There was no evidencde of shots fired, we couildn’t locate anyone credible who saw someone with a gun,” Culver City police Sgt. Brnadon Vanscoy told the Los Angeles Times. “We spent a very long time clearing out the mall.”
— Staff and wire reports