Police received a report of gunshots inside Tysons at 2:49 p.m. and began clearing the mall, Fairfax County Police said Second Lieutenant Jason Chandler. By 3:40 p.m., the mall was clear and no threats were reported. The mall was never closed, Chandler said, but some stores have closed.
Fairfax County’s Melanie Kantor was at an American Eagle store in Tysons with her family when staff locked the doors and ushered everyone into a storage room. She reported being told people had been seen running through the hallways, so “we’re putting everyone back here.”
She estimated around 50 people were in the store’s back room in a state of uncertainty while receiving a variety of text messages and phone calls claiming to say what was going on.
It was “a bit scary”, she said, because “no one knew what was going on” and there was “a lot of bad information floating around”.
However, she said “the staff were really great” and tried hard to keep everyone calm, even though some of the staff didn’t look older than teenagers.
“I think most people felt safe where we were,” she said.
Afterwards, she said, she and her family immediately left the mall.
Prior to the gunfire report, Chandler said police responded to a possible robbery in the mall near the glass elevator. A light fixture fell “in the general area” of police activity, causing a loud noise, Chandler said, which officers say caused panic in the mall.
A video posted on Twitter showed officers leading several people in handcuffs away from the mall after gunshots were reported. Chandler said no suspects were arrested in response to the reports, but he was unsure if anyone was arrested in the previous response to a possible robbery.
Other videos posted on social media show dozens of shoppers fleeing the mall. Tysons was advertising a duty-free weekend with discounted clothing and school supplies, according to the mall’s website.
In mid-June, shots were fired at Tysons after a scuffle closed the mall and sparked panic as customers fled or hid in stores. A boy was shot and killed at the Moechella concert in northwest Washington the same weekend, and the previous week three people were shot after an argument at a Prince George’s County mall.
The incidents came amid a string of high-profile mass shootings across the country, from Buffalo to Uvalde, Texas. Following the killings, some residents of DC and Virginia told The Washington Post that they had become more attuned to the risk of gun violence. , or reluctant to return to large gathering places.
Studies conducted in 2019 and 2018 by the American Psychological Association and the Pew Research Center after high-profile mass shootings found that across the country, news of gun violence similarly heightened fears and levels respondents’ stress.
This developing story has been updated.