Twitter sparks Mall of America shooting rumor; turns out to be false alarm
One year to the day after a violent melee at the MOA was caught on camera, folks listening to Dave Sinykin's drive-time show on KFAN yesterday evening got quite the scare.
Just before a commercial break, Sinykin's sidekick hit the breaking news sounder and relayed reports that nobody wanted to hear: A number of people on Twitter were saying there had been a shooting and mass panic in the Mall of America.
Thank goodness, those reports turned out to be only half true -- there was a mass panic, but no shooting. After the jump, we take a look at a Twitter timeline of how the rumor spread.
The first report of a "popping sounds" occurred at 5:09 p.m.:
People running in a panic at Mall of America. Some say they heard popping sounds. Stores on 3rd floor south locking doors.-- mmcintee (@mmcintee) December 26, 2012
Five minutes later, folks were still unsure what happened:
Just had such a big scare at the Mall of America! It sounded like gunshots! #trembling-- Usama Khan (@MrUsamaKhan) December 26, 2012
Minutes later, as is wont to happen on Twitter, "popping sounds" came to mean gunshots:
Mall of America scare, bunch of people running through the halls yelling someone was shot. Don't know if was real or not.-- Mike Doyle (@mikedoyle_12) December 26, 2012
My sister just called me from the Mall Of America while at work, telling me there were people shooting in the food court. I'm so pissed off.-- Janoskians.(@JanoskiansCraze) December 26, 2012
Less than 15 minutes after the panic began, it was over:
All quiet now at Mall of America.Security cleaning up stuff dropped on floor during panic. twitter.com/mmcintee/statu...-- mmcintee (@mmcintee) December 26, 2012
But the rumor continued to spread:
Possible shooting in south food court mall of America. The stampede coming from the food court was terrifying-- Judy Moe (@palejude) December 26, 2012
Finally, about 20 minutes later, the MOA's official Twitter account weighed in and attributed the popping sounds and panic to "a small fight":
The recent reports of a potential shooting in Mall of America are false. There has not been a shooting in the Mall. -ev-- Mall of America (@mallofamerica) December 26, 2012
@palejude There was a small fight in the food court that security responded to, that was all. Sorry if you felt overwhelmed! -ev— Mall of America (@mallofamerica) December 27, 2012
But about an hour after the scare began, some MOA Shooting Truthers refused to accept that it was a false alarm:
@mallofamericastop lying MOA & elaborate further on the incident..-- Moe Mak (@MoeRealistMak) December 27, 2012
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