- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Police were searching for two people after an exchange of gunfire inside a Columbus mall that prompted an evacuation of the premises. No injuries were reported.

Columbus police said two officers working special duty in Polaris Fashion Place heard gunshots at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and many patrons also reported the gunfire.

Sgt. James Fuqua told reporters that at least two people apparently fired inside the mall, which was populated by a “substantial amount” of customers as well as employees at the time. No victims were immediately found, but there was some damage to property, especially a kiosk, he said.

Police said Wednesday night that video footage showed a male firing multiple gunshots at another male inside a retail store, and the person being fired upon went out of the store and then fired multiple shots at the earlier shooter.

Multiple shell casings from two different firearms were recovered, police said. In addition, police recovered a handgun from the parking lot after a witness reported seeing someone stash it under a vehicle, police said.

Store employees and shoppers were kept inside the mall as police swept through the building looking for the suspects, but everyone was out of the building shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

Fuqua said the two suspects have been identified and are being sought, and police are “strongly encouraging” them to turn themselves in “and explain your side of the story.” Anyone with information is asked to call investigators.

Dave Burdett, who was walking on the second level with his wife, Diane, reported hearing about six shots on the lower level “and people started running,” the Columbus Dispatch reported.

“I was concerned. We ducked into a store,” he said. The couple remained under lockdown in the men’s store for about an hour before they were evacuated by police, the paper reported.

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