An appearance by a YouTube content creator and his fans caused a disturbance that was then somehow reported as a ‘shooter in the mall,’ causing a panicked evacuation of the East-Central El Paso Mall Saturday afternoon.
As the internet influencer appeared at a store inside Cielo Vista Mall, and his crowd of admirers grew, somehow the rumor of a gunman or shots fired quickly spread through the mall, causing hundreds of shoppers, their family member and employees to go running for the doors.
Shortly after 4 p.m., El Paso Police initially tweeted out that they responded to the mall on a call of ‘shots fired,’ however they and their SWAT team determined a short time later that there were no shots fired and there was no active shooter situation going on.
In a follow up tweet, EPPD confirmed that the celebrity’s visit had caused the rush after the rumor quickly spread. Police said if there were any injuries, it was as a result of the rush of people from the mall.
According to KTSM, the influencer is being accused of first inciting others to yell ‘shooter,’ to which the influencer responded that he did not, and the entire visit to the mall is captured on video and at no time did he yell or incite the crowd.
The entire scene played out as an echo of the response in the wake of the Walmart shooting of August 3, 2019, that killed 23 shoppers. The site is just west of the mall, and can be seen from the parking lot.
The mall reopened a few hours later.