American Dream mall reopens after shooting, as search continues for suspects

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A suspect is still at large after a shooting at the American Dream mall on Thursday night.

CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to workers who heard gunshots, then warnings, and tried to protect customers.

“It was a real threat yesterday,” Joyce Hadley, manager of Levi’s on the second floor, said Friday.

Hadley said she heard what she knew were gunshots and instantly tried to protect everyone in the store.

“As I rushed to the front of the store I saw another supervisor next door from Lush. We both looked at each other, decided to close the doors because we know the protocol is to close the doors, turn the light off, have everyone be quiet, and then go to the back,” Hadley said.

She said employees have practiced lockdown procedures for emergencies.

“We saw customers running by everyone closing the gates and that’s how we knew it was a real threat and we saw the security guards scrambling on their phones,” Hadley said.

Police said the shooting happened at around 5:50 p.m. on the second floor of the retail section of the mall, adding a 37-year-old male victim was shot multiple times in what they’re calling an isolated incident.

Hadley said she could hear the chaos of emergency responders and sirens as she rushed everyone towards the back exit.

“At that point, we were already in the service elevator downstairs at our meeting point,” Hadley said.

Some had to shelter in place for more than an hour as police secured the mall, with rifles drawn in an effort to target the shooters.

“It’s scary with people walking around with guns,” mall patron Fred Molina told CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook.

American Dream released a statement saying, “The safety and security of our guests, tenants and team members continues to be our top priority. We will continue to have increased security and police presence throughout the property.”

No arrests have been made and the incident remains under investigation.

The victim was taken to an area hospital where he is listed in serious but stable condition.