Wolfchase stores launched security plans to protect employees, shoppers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - As thousands of shoppers bolted for the exit, others were locked inside stores as rumors of fights and a shooting spread throughout Wolfchase Galleria on Tuesday night.

While there was no formal evacuation of the mall, it was shut down early as a result of the fights and shooting.

Many stores quickly launched security plans to protect employees and shoppers.

"Now we are receiving reports that it's two males running through the mall armed with shotguns and rifles," dispatch said Tuesday night. "They were just saying in the food court by the Cheesecake Factory and JCPenney."

JCPenney released a statement saying in part:

"During last night's event at the Wolfchase Galleria, we closed the mall entrance to the JCPenney store, per the direction of the local Memphis police."

Macy's released the following statement:

"Responding to your inquiry below about Macy's plan if an active shooter is in the building per the incident at Wolfchase.  Our store's Asset Protection team, store leadership team and our entire associate population are trained and prepared to follow procedures to protect our customers and associates as their safety is our top priority.  Macy's works closely with local law enforcement and mall security and follows proper procedure."

Several other anchor stores in the mall told WMC Action News 5 that they too followed protocol to secure the stores and shoppers inside of them.

Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Dale Lane said it's our responsibility to always be thinking of how you can escape from violence.

"The biggest message is have a plan in advance because if we wait until the stressful incidents are occurring and we are trying to develop a plan in the stress, it's just not going to happen," Lane said.

Tuesday's mall shooting was not an active shooter situation, but Lane said similar training applies. He suggests not to fight back but rather to run or hide.

Wolfchase Galleria's owner, Simon Malls, never returned WMC5's repeated calls and emails asking for the mall's evacuation plan.

We know that in the rush to leave the mall a couple of people were hurt and at least two were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

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