Popped balloon led to evacuation of Florida mall, police say

Video shows shoppers reacting to popping sound, fleeing


BOCA RATON, Fla. – Police say a popped balloon was what prompted erroneous reports of an active shooter at a Florida mall, triggering an evacuation of shoppers and massive police response.

The Boca Raton Police Department said in a statement Tuesday that surveillance video shows a janitor popped the balloon in the food court of the Town Center mall on Sunday after it got tangled in his pushcart. Investigators say a popped balloon was recovered at the site.

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Video showed shoppers reacting immediately to the popping sound and then hurrying to flee the mall.

Police searched the mall extensively but found no evidence of a shooter. One man suffered a head injury when he collided with a door while attempting to evacuate. The man, who wasn't identified, was treated at a local hospital.