Man with assault rifle, Kevlar vest detained at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- A man was detained at Cross Creek Mall after Fayetteville police received reports of a gunman on Thursday evening.

Police said the suspect was armed with an assault rifle and numerous clips of ammunition, and a Kevlar vest.

No shots were fired, but the mall was evacuated as an army of officers searched for a second suspect.

On surveillance video, the alleged gunman was seen walking into and out of the mall entrance. Police said he was subdued and arrested outside near the entrance.

Photos showed several stores with security gates pulled down. Some store employees locked themselves inside the businesses until officers told them it was safe to come out.

Police officers search Cross Creek Mall for a possible second gunman

Eyewitnesses said it was a moment of sheer panic.

"They were very panicked, actually a lot of kids were crying," said eyewitness Francheska Penn. "They did not understand why adults were running -- kind of a scary thing. Everyone just dove in sheer panic. They did not understand what was going on."

As far as a motive, police said the alleged gunman isn't talking.

"Was this a terrorist attack? We don't think so," said Fayetteville Assistant Police Chief Anthony Kelly. "We feel it was an individual who made a bad decision. At about 6:25, we got several calls about a subject with a rifle. Within two minutes, we had officers on the scene. The first two responding officers made contact, gave him a verbal command, [and the] subject complied and they took him into custody."

Kelly said his officers prevented what could have been a real tragedy.

"We got here within two minutes," said Kelly. "We got to the scene. We secured the scene. Most importantly, we secured citizens shopping when we closed down the mall, and they handled it very well."

The suspect has not been identified.

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact Sergeant G. Womble with the Fayetteville Police Department at (910) 916-2764 or Crimestoppers at (910) 483-TIPS (8477).

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