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Crime

Anne Arundel police investigating discharge of firearm at Arundel Mills Mall

An accidental discharge of a firearm at Arundel Mills Mall set off a panic among shoppers and led to a part of the facility being evacuated Saturday afternoon. The mall was closed after the incident and reopened within an hour or so, according to Lt. A.J. Gardiner, spokesman for the department.

Gardiner said Anne Arundel County Police officers on scene at the Hanover shopping center received a call for shots fired around 3:20 p.m. A preliminary investigation and review of a surveillance video showed an unknown male accidentally discharging a firearm in the mall’s food court, he said.

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No one was shot and there were no injuries from the discharge. Gardiner said there may have been people who were injured during the rush to exit the building after the shot was heard. Police officers remained on the scene Saturday afternoon looking for evidence and to ensure the facility is safe. Gardiner said police do not believe the shooting was targeted.

Steuart Pittman, the Anne Arundel County executive, reacted to the incident with anger, releasing a statement that cited a June Supreme Court decision that makes it easier for gun owners to obtain permits to carry firearms in public.

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“Today, we saw what happens when more guns are present in our communities,” Pittman said. “Families enjoying a meal in the food court at Arundel Mills experienced the terror of not knowing whether they would be the latest victims of a mass shooting. People fled, people were hurt, all because a firearm went off in a crowded public space. My heart goes out to everyone present for this incident. Nobody should have to go through what you did today.”

Pittman added, “Politicians glorify guns to get votes, the Supreme Court takes away our right in Maryland to pass and enforce our own gun permitting laws, and the result is terror. I will stand with our law enforcement community and push back against this idea of promoting guns in public places. It’s dangerous and it’s stupid.”


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