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Slammed chair sparks mass panic as Jersey Gardens shoppers flee ‘shooting’

ELIZABETH — Panicked shoppers and employees of The Mills at Jersey Gardens scrambled for the exits Monday afternoon after word spread that gunfire had erupted at the busy shopping center.

But police have not confirmed that there was any shooting — although there was a “large fight.”

Investigators believed it may have been the sound of a slammed chair that caused initial reports of an active shooter at the mall.

Police swarmed the mall and ordered an evacuation as a precaution, officials said. There are no reports of injuries.

The Union County Prosecutor’s Office, which normally takes over investigating incidents involving fatalities, was not involved in the investigation, officials said.

In a statement sent after 7:30 p.m., a spokeswoman for the mall confirmed that an “altercation” had occurred and the incident is now over.

“The safety and security of our guests and employees is our top priority,” she said.

Rumors about what happened swirled live on social media.

The incident comes several days after a large brawl erupted at Newport Centre mall in Jersey City.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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