• WATCH: Video shows firecracker set off at Florida Mall as shoppers scramble to safety

    By: Monique Valdes , Jason Kelly


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Several people were injured Sunday afternoon as shoppers and employees rushed out of the Florida Mall after fireworks were ignited to distract people from a jewelry store theft, Orange County deputies said.

    Deputies responded to the mall about 5:45 p.m. for reports of shots fired, but quickly determined it was fireworks.

    “We received a call of what was believed to be shots fired at the Florida Mall,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jeff Williamson. “We had detectives that work there off duty and were there within minutes and determined it was not shots fired.” 

    Deputies released security video of the on Monday in hopes that it will lead to an arrest. The video shows a flash in he left-hand corner as two men run out of the store. 



    Photos: Fireworks lit at Florida Mall

    Instead, a distraction theft was happening at Mayors Jewelers, deputies said. One man created the distraction while another escaped with a $16,900 Rolex watch, according to deputies. 

    “The individual walked into the store and began to inquire about the Rolexes. Tried on one and then tried on another one,” Williamson said. “When they were trying on the second watch, apparently the individual outside the store set fireworks off.” 

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    According to a report, the manager of the store told detectives that someone yelled, "He's got a gun," after after the firecrackers went off, causing shoppers to run and the thief to run out of the store. 

    Men sought in fireworks incident at Florida Mall
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

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    Orange County Fire Rescue said 11 people were injured as panicked crowds rushed out of the mall.

    Five people were taken to the hospital and six were treated at the scene.

    None of the injuries were serious. 

    Read: Suspect sought after man shot in Seminole Towne Center parking lot

    "Hundreds and hundreds of people (were fleeing)," shopper Ali Lamarani said. "We didn't know what was going on."

    Shoppers said on Twitter that they thought a gun was being fired.

    "People were scared. You could see it on their faces. They were really panicked," Lamarani said. "There was panic -- no organized evacuation or anything."

    Detectives said they're reviewing surveillance footage to try to determine who's responsible for the incident.

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