Witnesses describe chaotic scene at Arundel Mills after fireworks incident

HANOVER, Md. - The call came in Saturday night as a report of "shots fired," but police said it wasn't gunshots at all. Officers found a homemade explosive device inside the Cinemark Theatre: a juice bottle packed with a firecracker.

Witnesses said Saturday started out as any ordinary night, but around 10 p.m. it turned to chaos.

"Everyone was just screaming, 'Gunshots! Gun! Run!' So we started running out, because they told us, 'Run out, you're safe to run to the right, don't go to the left!'" said witness Lisa Ngugi.

Read More | Hundreds evacuated from theatre after reports of shooting

Ngugi was inside Buffalo Wild Wings when the firecracker bang echoed inside the theater.

"I heard this big boom, and then it was like popPopPop! Right after," said Bryan Schwabline, another witness.

The loud explosion wasn't a gunshot at all. It was homemade firework that exploded inside a juice bottle in the theatre. But for those caught up in the chaos, their first thought was another shooting.

"I was just like, we're in this is another Columbia Mall incident. And remember, it can take place anywhere! So, this is probably it. And now, I'm part of a horror movie that I don't want to be a part of," said Ngugi.

Schwabline said, "people started running, I grabbed my friend's son and took him into a corner and his dad was looking around to see what was going on."

Both Ngugi and Schwabline were inside Buffalo Wild Wings when the fireworks broke out next door. They said the explosion was so loud, it sounded like it was right there.

"We all just started running out. Running away from the mall! All I knew is we were running like Olympic champions, and we're like, 'We gotta get out!'" Ngugi said.

Police found a person of interest on surveillance cameras  inside the theatre. They're calling the crime 'foolishness.'

"It's ridiculous. It didn't make any sense that someone would do that when there are kids and babies and parents, and people just going there to hang out at the mall," said Ngugi.

Anne Arundel police said the entire theatre was evacuated and searched by K-9s. No one was injured by the explosion and nothing was damaged inside the theatre.

If anyone has any information on this case, you're asked to contact Anne Arundel County police..

 

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