Masked suspect incites panic after making threats at Texas mall, police say

HOUSTON -- Authorities are searching for a person of interest they say sent shoppers into a panic on Sunday at Memorial City Mall in Houston.

Houston police said it is not an active shooter situation. Authorities had initially said a male suspect set off firecrackers inside the mall, alarming patrons and sending them into a panic. But in an update on twitter, the Houston Police Department said no fireworks were actually discharged.



During a press conference, Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap said surveillance video shows the suspect at 3:12 p.m. going up an escalator to a movie theater. A few minutes later, the suspect was seen wearing a red half-mask. He took the escalators down to the food court area, where he jumped on a table and declared he was going to kill himself.

"He had something in a bag, and that point he had thrown the bag. At this point we have chaos - people started fleeing. He actually exited out the south entrance and headed in this direction over here towards these apartment complexes," Heap said.

The suspect has not been located at this time but police will continue to investigate the incident.

WATCH: Authorities release details on incident that sent shoppers into panic at Memorial Mall
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According to Houston police, they are investigating the incident as a terroristic threat.



According to Houston police, they are investigating this as a terroristic threat.

At least two people were injured, police said.

"Two injuries that occurred, fairly minor one of them was a 16-year-old boy and his mother. They were taken to the hospital they got caught up int he mass hysteria of the exit. It appears we have a minor ankle or leg injury and the mother was stepped on a few times on her back as she was trying to help her son," said Houston police's Cheryl Victorian.

Authorities said the suspect is described as a white male in his teens or early 20s.

Mall officials said Memorial City Mall is closed at this time.

Shoppers who left their stuff behind can pick it up on Monday, according to authorities.

Moments following the scare at Memorial Mall, Houston police responded to reports of shots fired at a Walmart.

Upon arrival, HPD said they could not find evidence that indicated shots were fired.

Eyewitness News has reached out to Walmart for a statement in regard to the incident.

The incidents come just a week following the deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
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