Updated at 9:50 p.m.: Revised to include additional information from police.
One person was wounded as shots rang out at the Galleria Dallas mall on Tuesday evening, sending panicked shoppers running for stairwells and freight elevators.
Dallas police said hours later that two males, in their teens or early 20s, had gotten into an argument that ended with one of them shooting the other just before 6:45 p.m. in the Far North Dallas mall’s food court.
The two appeared to know each other, said Sr. Cpl. Melinda Gutierrez, a police spokeswoman, and the incident was not an active-shooter situation.
The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in an unknown condition, police said. No one else was injured.
The shooter fled and remained at large late Tuesday, Gutierrez said.
The mall was temporarily placed on lockdown as police searched for the gunman, and officers could be seen directing shoppers and employees away from the mall as they evacuated.
Hannah DeClerk, 33, of Dallas said she was in the Bath & Body Works on the second floor when she heard at least five or six shots fired outside the nearby Nordstrom. She was able to leave the store through a back stairwell.
The mall was busy, she said, and lots of people had been in lines waiting to get into stores.
DeClerk said she didn’t see anyone wounded but heard screaming. “You could smell the gunpowder,” she said.
When she got outside, people were “just devastated” by what they’d experienced. “It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever been in,” she said.
Sabrena Moore, 23, was shopping at H&M on the second floor when she heard the gunshots.
“I started running toward the fire escape, because that’s the nearest exit that I saw,” she said.
She and several other people ended up taking a freight elevator that led to a parking garage, where she saw a wounded man.
Moore said she was shaken by the incident. She also said it felt familiar: A few years ago, she fled when an active shooter was reported at Mississippi State University, where she was attending.
“I remember calling my mom when it happened last time, and I did the same thing this time. I immediately called my mom,” she said.
Andria Gaither, 38, was working at Express, checking out one of her last customers at the day, when she heard a commotion and someone screamed that there was a shooter.
Gaither grabbed the customer and they ran to a back hallway. They started speaking through a wall with other people hiding in the back of Zumiez, and eventually went to hide with them.
“We called Dallas police, and they told us to stay where we were,” Gaither said, adding that they later rode a freight elevator to get to safety.
She left the store open and her purse and phone upstairs, she said. She borrowed someone’s phone to call her mom, who came to pick her up.
Yvonne Ruiz and Laila Dilawar were in Finish Line when they heard the gunfire.
They sheltered in the back of the store for 20 minutes before they were allowed to leave the mall’s south exit. They credited the store’s safety protocols for keeping them safe, but were still upset by the shooting.
“This thing happens more often than it should,” Dilawar said.
Daniel Evans, manager of the Grand Lux Cafe, waited outside about 9 p.m. with his staff. Mall staff have to park in specific garages, he said, so they weren’t able to get back to their cars while police investigated.
He was talking with a regular customer when he heard yelling and gunfire. As he and a few other people went to lock the doors to the restaurant, three police officers came up to tell them to clear the building.
“I get that, but I can’t leave, I’ve got to make sure I’ve got all my staff out,” he recalled telling them.
He and the staff all made it out safely.
“They’re good, so I’m good,” said Evans, 39. “Just trying to make the best of the situation instead of freaking out.”
Stores at the Galleria are currently allowed to open at 50% capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the end of May, about three-quarters of the mall’s stores had opened.
Shootings inside North Texas malls have been rare.
In December 1993, 17-year-old Juan Rodriguez opened fire at rival gang members in the Irving Mall’s food court. A bystander, 37-year-old Kevin Reuss Bacon, was killed and two teenagers were wounded. Rodriguez was sentenced to life in prison.
Staff writers Maria Halkias and Cassandra Jaramillo contributed to this report.