NEW YORK: Multiple people were stabbed inside the Mall of America on Sunday night, leaving families and kids stunned as they waited to see Santa.
“My daughter could see people lying on the ground who had been stabbed,” Kim Schwieters, who was waiting to see St. Nick with her three children, told media.
At least three people were wounded in the attack, which is being described by police as “an interrupted theft.”
It happened around 6:45 p.m. in the men’s department of Macy’s, which is not far from the mall’s Santa Experience.
What started as simple robbery attempt quickly escalated into a violent, multi-victim incident after the would-be thief was caught stealing from two men inside a fitting room.
Speaking at a news briefing Sunday night, Bloomington Police officials described how the suspect snuck into the men’s room — as they were modeling outfits for friends outside — and tried swiping some of their belongings.
The pair attempted to stop him, prompting the man to pull a knife. He stabbed them both before being brought down and subdued by other shoppers, cops said.
One victim was reportedly stabbed in the back and another has numerous knife wounds.
Cops wrote on Twitter that the suspect, who was also injured, was taken into custody.
“We saw two cops running toward Macy’s,” said Schwieters, who is from Grant, Minn.
“By the time we got to the main area — the men’s department is to the right – more police started running in with their guns drawn.”
Witnesses said they saw the suspect acting erratically before the stabbing. One man told Schwieters that he appeared to be having a conversation with himself, even yelling at times.
“He saw the man walking through before, talking to himself, really really loudly talking to himself,” Schwieters said. “Kind of drew attention to himself.”
Some shoppers tweeted about the incident, saying they hid underneath clothing racks and other places.
“Just lived through the scariest experience of my life,” wrote Jolene Situma. “I heard someone screaming ‘He got me! He got me!’ I knew something was not right. Some other shoppers ran toward the screaming, and someone (who I believe was the victim’s brother) yelled ‘911!’ I called the police and hid.”
#BREAKING: First images from the scene of investigation of violent incident at Macy’s in @mallofamerica. Our @joemazankstp is there and snapped these. Stay with @KSTP for confirmed details as soon as we learn them. pic.twitter.com/lGewZrZsXu
— Matt Belanger (@MattKSTP) November 13, 2017