Reported SC mall shooting may not have involved gunfire

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2016 5:11 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Police now say the reported shooting at a South Carolina mall this past weekend may not have involved any gunshots at all.

Investigators have not found any shell casings at the Columbiana Centre, and the surveillance video reviewed so far hasn't given authorities any solid leads, Columbia Police said in a news release Monday.

Also, witnesses who originally reported seeing two men fire in the air after a fistfight Saturday night aren't as confident about their stories in later interviews, police said.

Investigators did find one curious piece of evidence in the woods nearby — a backpack with at least four Airsoft guns, which look like real guns and fire tiny BB-size pellets. Some of the guns make popping sounds when fired. Police haven't been able to determine who left the bag behind or if they were connected with what witnesses thought was a shooting.

No one was injured in the mall, despite a mass panic when reports of shots fired spread rapidly. Hundreds of people ran away or hid in stores. It took hours for police to clear everyone out.

Police emphasized they aren't sure what happened because they are still trying to get surveillance video from a number of the 100 or so stores in the mall.

No arrests have been made.

The shooting happened just minutes after polls closed in Saturday's Republican presidential primary and three GOP candidates were holding parities about a dozen miles away in downtown Columbia.