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Wayne PD: 2 Charged With Causing 'Shots Fired' Stampede At Willowbrook Mall

Wayne police detectives reviewed surveillance video and conducted interviews.
Wayne police detectives reviewed surveillance video and conducted interviews. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Ron Johnson

WAYNE, N.J. -- A fight that sent hundreds of customers stampeding in panic because they thought shots were fired at the Willowbrook Mall produced charges against an adult and a 17-year-old boy, Wayne police said Thursday.

Angel Perez, 26, -- who authorities said remained at large Thursday --- and the minor began throwing chairs during the Feb. 26 food court fight, which to some sounded like gunshots, Capt. Laurence W. Martin said.

Their "disruptive activity led to hundreds of shoppers fleeing in panic from the false rumor of an 'active shooting' in the mall," Martin said.

One customer banged on a responding police cruiser and shouted: "There’s guys shooting each other inside the mall!”

It was made worse by antagonists who, Martin said, "seized the moment to create widespread panic and fear by screaming 'Shots fired!' ”

In the ensuing panic, a woman near Macy's injured her wrist -- and refused medical attention -- while another was hospitalized with undisclosed injuries that the captain said weren't considered life-threatening.

What's more, it cost mall stores business, he said.

Wayne detectives reviewed surveillance video and conducted interviews to determine who was involved and what charges would be filed.

Perez and the juvenile were charged with disorderly conduct for "causing widespread panic," the captain said.

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