SAN BRUNO, Calif. (AP) — A shooting that caused panic at a mall near San Francisco on Tuesday wounded at least two people and led to region-wide transit delays at rush hour as police stopped a train to search for suspects, authorities said.
The San Bruno Police Department urged people to stay away from the Shops at Tanforan as officers investigate the gunfire that erupted around 4 p.m. and sent shoppers scrambling for exits. Police planned an evening press conference to provide more details.
San Francisco General Hospital was treating two boys wounded in the shooting, according to spokesman Brent Andrew. One of the victims is critical and the other is in serious condition, he said.
Police searched a train stopped in Oakland for possible suspects connected to the incident, Bay Area Rapid Transit said. The 12th Street Oakland Station reopened after about a half hour. The San Bruno station adjacent to the mall remained closed, BART said.
“I saw people running and I heard ‘pow, pow, pow, pow!'” shopper George Castro told KPIX-TV. “People were yelling ‘Get out of the mall, get out of the mall, there’s a shooting!'”
Eric Rosales said he and his family heard two or three gunshots as they arrived to see a movie at the mall about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of downtown San Francisco.
“We dashed inside the theater,” said Rosales, of San Bruno. “We were like in a crouched position, just trying to hide out.”
Rosales, 26, stayed crouching for cover with his mother and brother as his father, a former Marine, went out to see what was going on.
Police arrived minutes later and the family was told to walk to the parking lot with their hands up for safety.
Rosales called it a “frightening experience.”
Jezabelle Catig, 20, of Burlingame, said she was in the BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse kitchen working as a waitress when her co-workers said there had been a shooting.
At first she thought it was a joke but she then saw people running, prompting 20 to 30 restaurant employees and 10 diners to lock themselves in the kitchen and hide behind machines and walls.
They kept peeking out to see if it was OK to leave.
“Every time we looked out, there were more cops,” she said. “Everyone was calling their moms, their loved ones.”
Commuters were warned to expect train delays across the Bay Area.