Shoppers hurt during fireworks incident at Hamilton Place Mall speak out
Channel 3 spoke to several people who are still shaken up. They say it was absolute chaos with people were running through the mall screaming "active shooter!" Kids and customers were trampled and some parents were separated from their children.
Dozens of shoppers rushed toward the exit signs Monday, in fear of what they thought was an active shooter inside Hamilton Place Mall.
Those thoughts were eased after Chattanooga police said the shots fired were actually fireworks set off by teenagers inside the mall.
Channel 3 spoke to several people who are still shaken up. They say it was absolute chaos with people were running through the mall screaming "active shooter!" Customers say hundreds ran for the exit all at once. Kids and customers were trampled and some parents were separated from their children.
"It was very loud and it sounded like a semi-automatic gun going off," said witness Wendy Haynes.
Wendy Haynes was just footsteps away from the fireworks inside of Hamilton Place Mall's "Pink" store by Victoria's Secret. She says her daughter was in the dressing room at the time. Now, she's embarrassed she had to run out without her clothes.
"They had rerouted the line and if they had not I would have been standing where the fireworks landed," said Haynes.
Customers say they were running for their lives in fear, while others were crawling and shielding their kids from what they thought was an active shooter scenario. Strangers reportedly grabbed children to keep them safe, several families were separated.
"It was just terrifying knowing you can’t find your kids," said Amanda Marler who was separated from her son. " My daughter got run over, she's got bruises all over her legs because she got pushed down into a table trying to get out."
The mother of five went to the hospital for two broken bones in her foot, she says she was trampled by a crowd of people in the food court while trying to escape with her kids.
"It's the scariest thing they have ever been through, they told me, and me too. I hope we never go through that again," said Marler.
A trip to the mall and now unable to work and support her family.
"It's going to set us back. I mean, I'm not able to do what I need to do at home, you know. I can’t even drive to get my kids to school," said Marler. ' I can't work either for I don't know how long."
Nineteen-year-old Ivy Ervin tells Channel 3 she's now recovering from a knee injury.
"I immediately was trampled to the ground by other people and I have some marks on my jacket actually from people stepping on me and my knee took the first hit," said Ivy Ervin. "We actually saw a little girl, probably like seven years old, who had a mangled arm and we had been hearing other stories from other people when we were walking away. So, I know that a lot of people were hurt by this. With what's going on in the world today, it was just very scary and traumatizing."
This is the second incident at Hamilton Place in recent weeks. There was also a shooting on Black Friday. Some say they're afraid to return and their kids are scared too.
"Until you've been in there thinking that there's somebody shooting where your kid is, you don't know how you would react," said Haynes.
The injured women we spoke with have already filed a report with the mall and both plan to see an orthopedic surgeon for additional care. At this time, no serious injuries have been reported.
"My kids were traumatized, I've got teenage girls that don't want to go back to the mall and I don't want to go back either," said Marler.
If you have any information about the suspects call Chattanooga police at 423-698-2525.