Someone drove their vehicle straight Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, on Friday. A black SUV plowed through Sears and continued driving through the retail center, which is located just 40 minutes west of Chicago, and one of the largest shopping malls in the United States.
Video of the incident was posted on Twitter, and you can see the vehicle making its way through the inner sections of the Woodfield Mall, which has over 300 stores and restaurants, and is very popular location in the Chicago suburb. The mall was quickly put on lockdown, with ambulances enroute. Nearby businesses and offices were also put on lockdown. The FBI has been notified of the situation and is assisting with the investigation.
Authorities have called for a mass casualty response, and people inside the mall were quickly evacuated. However, officials have said there have been zero casualties, and no reported injuries thus far.
Police and firemen are on the scene, and those on location during the accident continued to post videos from the accident on Twitter. In the clip below, shared by user Nicole Doyle, you can see the demolished entryway the vehicle crashed through to get inside the mall.
The Suspect Was Taken Arrested Inside Tea Canal
Within a half-hour of the initial reports, police were seen arresting the suspected driver, a 22-year-old male. He was wearing a red Nike shirt, and was arrested inside the Tea Canal store inside the mall. The suspect appeared to be cooperating with authorities following his arrest. He was walked out of the mall in handcuffs with an officer on each side of him.
Photos shows that after he plowed through the Sears entrance, the driver caused structural damage to Forever 21 and the Hollister stores located inside Woodfield Mall. The suspect continued to drive erratically through the mall before crashing into a column by the Clarks store. His driving was described as moving in a “pinball” fashion.
This was Not an Active Shooter Situation
With all the commotion, locals were quick to assume they were under attack by an active shooter, however such reports were incorrect. There were no shots fired. The name of the suspected driver has not yet been released by authorities.
CBS Chicago reporter Eric Cox relayed the official Schaumberg Police statement on Twitter which confirmed the suspect was in custody, and that there was no evidence of an active shooter situation. Police noted that no injuries have yet been reported, but that the investigation is ongoing. Cox also posted close-up pictures from the accident inside the mall.
Woodfield Mall Shoppers React on Twitter
The scene inside Woodfield Mall looked terrifying, and local shoppers shared their pictures and video of the scene after first finding safety. It was understandably difficult for locals to process that someone had purposely crashed inside the mall, and then proceeded to keep driving.
While a few users online tried to make light of the situation, most noted how serious and devastating this incident could’ve been if authorities didn’t quickly step in. Many expressed their level of shock at what they witness first-hand, while also sharing how grateful they are to be okay and uninjured, wishing the same prayers for everyone involved.