03/18/2011

Better to underreact or overreact?

Was it a rifle? Or a black umbrella? Police responding to the rifle-report at Valley View Mall, couldn't be sure

By Amanda Codispoti and Shawna Morrison
The Roanoke Times

ROANOKE, Va. — Was it a rifle? Or a black umbrella? Roanoke police, responding to Monday's reports of a man with a rifle at Valley View Mall, couldn't be sure, so they evacuated the region's largest shopping complex and vainly hunted the man for 10 hours. Tuesday, after seeing store security pictures of himself splashed across the region's news media, the man came forward.

He was carrying an umbrella, police said. The drama cost retailers four prime shopping hours, frightened hundreds of shoppers and employees, drained the resources of city and state police, and held the city in high anxiety.

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