By: KDKA-TV’s Amy Wadas and Pam Surano
BETHEL PARK, Pa. (KDKA) – Police were called to the South Hills Village after a man with a duffle bag allegedly told an employee there was going to be a mass shooting.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools To Move To Remote Learning On Election Day
The call came in shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday. Police convened on the scene and searched the inside of the mall while some stores told people to shelter in place.
Video on social media showed a heavily armed police presence inside. At least a half dozen were stationed inside and patrolling.
— 📸Nathan Tinstman (@NathanTinstman) October 12, 2021
The Bethel Park police chief said the man was in Macy’s at one point, then walked across the parking lot from Macy’s past the food court. They lost sight of him until he was found behind the liquor store at Village Square Mall.
The man, identified as 51-year-old Lance Crowley, was arrested. The chief says he didn’t have any weapons on him.
While police believed he was inside Macy’s, the store was put on lockdown. A witness was shopping there when she realized something was going on. Her aunt works at the store, so she pulled her to safety.READ MORE: Police Confirm Father And Son Found Dead Inside Forward Township Home Both Had COVID-19
“We ran into the storage room. Next thing I know, probably 10 minutes later we get an intercom from Macy’s: ‘It’s a situation, please shelter in place at this time.’ I went on Twitter seeing if anybody said anything, I was listening to a police scanner,” said Candace Martino.
Photo from when shelter was in place. pic.twitter.com/iupuhS4G2W
— Candace Martino (@CandaceMartino) October 12, 2021
Martino said she was shaken up after the incident.
The shelter-in-place has been lifted, the mall is back open to normal operations. No one was injured.
WATCH: Pam Surano Reports
A security expert KDKA’s Pam Surano spoke with provided valuable tips for venues and visitors, as these types of incidents happen more often.
Terrence Brown, the owner and founder of Safety Security Consultants, said the most important thing anyone can do is know your safe spots and exits. He said staff training and having a plan in place is crucial but added there is new technology that can assist.
“A mass notification system and indoor gunshot detection, which is really popular now,” Brown said.
Crowley is charged with felony terroristic threats, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.MORE NEWS: Man Flown To The Hospital With Severe Head Injury After Front End Loader Rolls Over
KDKA reached out to Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, and we are still waiting to hear back from them about the incident.