Holly Hill Mall reopens after evacuation because of report of person with gun



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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Police surrounded Holy Hill Mall Friday, evacuating shoppers and blocking all entrances and exits.

"Police officers had huge guns walking around," said Mechelle Cortes, who was at the mall with her family. "I was like, 'What in the world is going on?'"

Around 4:40 p.m., police got a call from a clerk from one of the stores at the mall, the Shoe Dept. The clerk said someone came in the store screaming about a man with a gun.

"She didn't take it seriously at first, but then thought she should call the police," said Assistant Chief Chris Verdeck, with the Burlington Police Department.

Police shut the mall down for more than an hour, doing two security sweeps to make sure it was safe.

"We take all of these reports like this seriously, especially when there are so many people inside the mall," Verdeck said.

Verdeck says police never found anyone with a gun nor did they find the person who claimed to see someone with a gun.

"We hadn't found any evidence that there was a man with a gun, no shots were fired, nobody's been injured," Verdeck said.

David Higham owns four shops at the mall.

"I saw SWAT outside and they told me to get out," Higham said.

Higham quickly told his workers to leave.

"I pulled one of my other employees who was close to me, told him to follow me and get out of the mall," Higham said.

Police don't know if the incident was a prank, but Higham and others who work at the mall are breathing a sigh of relief.

"Everything is good," Higham said. "No one got hurt, which is great."

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