WESTCHESTER (CBSLA.com) — A day after gunfire erupted at a Westchester mall investigators are still trying to find the man who shot a teen and prompted terrified shoppers to hide for hours.
The lone gunman fired several shots at The Howard Hughes Center, just off the 405 Freeway, and managed to escape before police arrived.
A 17-year-old boy was shot in the back of the leg on the second floor of the shopping center. Officials said he is expected to recover.
The shooting caused panic to sweep across the mall. Witnesses say visitors were hysterically crying and running for cover. Employees locked their doors, shut the blinds and told shoppers to get down on the floor.
“There were just parents with, like, little little kids just running around and we didn’t know what to do..” one mall employee said.
Jennifer Pollono had just walked out of a movie at Rave Cinemas with her 8-year-old daughter and her daughter’s friend when people started screaming that a gunman was on the loose. She hid with the two girls for more than an hour.
“I put the girls in the corner and they were just crying, asking if they were going to die, and it was really sad. And I just said, ‘We have to be really quiet.'”
“People were shaking the doors trying to get in, running, screaming,” mall employee Chelsea Dixon said.
“All of a sudden, you hear a bunch of people running and I just come out from the back and see everybody on the floor,” mall worker Lilly Simental said.
One mother said, “it was a restless night. And, then, this morning my daughter said to me, ‘Mommy I’m having so much anxiety, is this going to go away?'”
Police say they’re reviewing surveillance video but are asking anyone with information to call the L.A. Police Department.