By: CBS News Chicago
September 20, 2019
CHICAGO (CBS) — An SUV smashed into the Woodfield Mall in Chicago and drove down the main hallway, slamming into a kiosk and stores, sending panicked shoppers scrambling for safety on Friday afternoon.
A Schaumburg police official says no shots were fired. The driver is in custody.
So this just happened at Woodfield. I’m safe. Jesus Christ pic.twitter.com/fOfhtPkWvr— ronin (@nipsfalloff) September 20, 2019
A witness, Jason, was ordering ice cream when he saw the car only a few feet away, moving erratically. He told his wife to get into the nearby Starbucks, and he ran to the SUV, which had crashed into a pole. He opened the door and took the keys out of the ignition.
He said the driver was young and appeared “dazed and confused.” At that point, police were able to take the driver into custody.
“He seemed to be trying to get as far as he could,” Jason said.
He and his wife got out of the mall and will be flying out of O’Hare airport to go home.
Lori Halfman was in the Sears store when the car crashed through the door. “It was very scary. I didn’t know what was happening. A worker starting yelling, ‘Everybody evacuate.'”
Another witness said the SUV almost hit a bunch of kids near the Rain Forest Cafe.
Witness Lateef Farooqui told CBS 2 that he was on the second floor when he saw a Chevy Trailblazer driving down the center of the mall “like you would a shopping cart.”
The driver appeared to be younger, Farooqui said. He drove over a kiosk and then hit the Forever 21. He then ran out of the SUV and was caught by police.
Photos provided to CBS 2 show people sheltering in the H&M store.
The owner of the Baskin Robbins ice cream store, Roger Thacker, was standing behind the counter when he heard a bang, which he believed was the SUV driving in the mall.
At the H&M about 35 people were sheltering inside and were not harmed.
“It was terrifying. It sounded like gunshots,” said one shopper, who took shelter at the H&M store.
The FBI’s Chicago office said it is aware of the incident and is assisting local law enforcement as requested. There is no threat to public safety, the FBI said.
Schaumburg police said there were no significant injuries.
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