ATLANTA — Police say shoplifters allegedly used the panic of a shooting in a major mall parking garage to cover for their crimes as others were running for cover.

According to a report, an officer working an extra job at Lenox Square Mall was flagged down by the owner of the Clay clothing store shortly after gunfire caused a stampede of people inside the mall with some businesses even closing their doors.

In this store's case, the owner said one of her employees ran to the back of the store once she saw people running due to the gunfire. 

A police report said that while the employee was finding cover, she saw four people come into the store and fill their arms with merchandise before escaping in the chaos.

While it wasn't clear at the time what they had taken, a check of inventory found that 40 pairs of bell-bottom jeans, 20 pairs of Clay Denims, 15 pairs of Oreas Lucille rompers, 15 pairs of Oreas tees, two accessory bins, five pairs of Clay trenches and 30 Clay hair bows were missing. The suspects apparently also damaged two cash registers in an attempt to steal them.

The store owner said motion-detecting cameras only caught the rear of the suspects while they were running out. 

This all allegedly happened in the moments after an officer-involved shooting in a parking garage at the mall. According to the GBI, an officer shot a man who had a gun pointed on someone else and refused to drop his weapon.

The GBI later found evidence that the person shot was actually trying to get back a stolen item from the man he was pursuing. The gunman and the man he was pointing the gun at were later both charged with crimes.

As all this played out just outside the busy mall, those who heard the gunfire began to run and tell others that there had just been a shooting.

Some of the precarious moments that followed were captured on camera showing people running and tripping over each other trying to get away. It was during these frantic moments that the suspects apparently made their move.

Almost a week later, police still haven't released any details on possible suspects in the shoplifting crime.


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