Tactical team communicating with Ariz. mall gunman
There was a brief shooting outside the mall involving undercover officers
CHANDLER, Ariz. — Police in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler are talking with a man holed up inside a fast food restaurant after officers exchanged gunfire with a suspect inside a nearby mall.
Chandler police spokesman Sgt. Joe Favazzo says a gunman entered the Baja Fresh restaurant and fired a gun in what police think was a warning to customers following the mall shooting.
People inside the restaurant quickly exited. There were no reports of injuries.
Favazzo says negotiators hoped the man surrenders peacefully. Dozens of police are on the scene.
It is not clear if there are hostages inside the restaurant.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Police in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler were set up outside a fast food restaurant Wednesday after officers and a man described as a robbery suspect exchanged gunfire at a nearby mall.
Armed Chandler police dressed in black tactical gear with body armor and helmets were standing behind their cars with guns drawn and aimed at the restaurant where the suspect was believed to be.
Chandler police said they were attempting to call the suspect inside the Baja Fresh.
Witness Katie Corbin, who was inside Chandler Fashion Center at the time of the shooting, told KTVK-TV that people went to the back of the Victoria's Secret store after shots were fired. The upscale shopping center includes a Banana Republic, Coach, Nordstrom and other stores.
She said the situation inside the mall was "scary."
Corbin says a SWAT team was running on the upper levels of the mall looking for the gunman.
The scene later moved from the mall to the Baja Fresh fast food restaurant.
Following the shooting, shoppers and employees of stores and restaurants waited outside the mall on a street. State police officers blocked access to the mall.
December Davis, 22, a waitress at the Kona Grill inside the mall, said she and others inside her restaurant were told to drop everything and exit the shopping center. People left without their purses, cell phones and other belongings.
Witness Michael Bayne told KPHO-TV he saw police running by a kiosk inside the mall and heard gunshots. He described people inside the mall as scared.
Bayne said police told mall patrons and employees to leave the mall. The mall was then placed on lockdown.
There are no reports of injuries.
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