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Suspect grabs detective's gun, fires shot Sunday afternoon at Oak Park Mall, police say

No one injured in incident
Oak Park Mall shots fired incident
Posted at 5:19 PM, Nov 12, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police say a suspect is in custody after firing a shot from an Overland Park police detective's gun Sunday afternoon at Oak Park Mall. Officers arrested a second person across the street from the mall.

Just before 4 p.m., three on-duty detectives wearing street clothes followed two suspects for shoplifting, said Ofc. John Lacy, spokesperson for the Overland Park Police Department.

Lacy said when the detectives tried to apprehend the suspects, one of the men reached for a detective's gun during a struggle and fired a shot, but no one was injured. Police arrested the man they said shot the detective's gun near the mall food court.

"Everybody just stood up," said Francisco Lopez, 16, who was in the food court at the time. "And we heard the gunshot, so then everybody started running.”

A second suspect ran toward 95th Street where officers took him into custody. Lacy said it's not unusual for the police department to have uniformed and plainclothes officers on duty in the mall.

"Was I expecting this? Absolutely not. Was the tension high when this occurred? Yes," said Denton Cook, a shopper who took shelter in a mall store. "First thing was get everyone in the door and lock it."

Police locked the mall down while the incident unfolded. By 5:35 p.m., the mall closed for the night and shoppers and employees were sent home for the night.

“I saw young kids crying. This is like breaking your heart,” said Shanel, who works at a store in the mall.

“We [Shanel and I] are from Israel, so we’re Jewish, so you just panic. You don’t know if it’s something like a terror attack," said Naomi, Shanel's coworker. "It was really scary, this moment.”

A mall spokesperson said they would not comment on the incident because of the active investigation by Overland Park police.

“The mall is very, very safe. I was here a couple of weeks ago with my daughter shopping around and I felt safe and I felt comfortable. This is an isolated incident. We really don’t have this type of incidents that happen at the mall,” Lacy added.

The incident Sunday marked the second incident involving gun violence at a Kansas City area mall. On Friday, four people were injured in a shooting at the Independence Mall.

Oak Park Mall will open for normal business hours at 10 a.m. on Monday.