Two improvised explosive devices were detonated at Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales on Sunday, turning a day of shopping into chaos and fear. The shopping center is located about 30 miles east of Tampa. Here’s all the information available so far.
1. They were pipe bombs
The two devices have been described as pipe bombs by law enforcement. According to NBC News, police described them as “flare-like objects in PVC pipe, wrapped in electrical tape.” They have also been described as “crudely made.” One was found in a backpack.
2. They went off at 5:30 p.m.
The two devices were detonated half an hour before the mall was scheduled to close. They exploded in a service corridor, an employee hallway, close to a JCPenney.
3. They ignited a fire
The walls and part of a ceiling near the employee hallways loading dock were scorched. There was reportedly a fire.
4. No shoppers were around
Thankfully, nobody was hurt in the blast. Nobody was directly near the objects when they went off. Lakes Wales Deputy Police Chief Troy Schulze said that if anyone was, they would have very likely been injured.
5. People were in the mall
About 100 people were in the mall, according to the New York Daily News.
"People here shopping, just enjoying a Sunday afternoon or evening with their families, and literally 'boom,'" Schulze told NBC News.
6. A man was witnessed fleeing
After the two explosives detonated, a man was reportedly seen fleeing the mall. Police are searching for that man.
7. He is middle-aged
The man seen running away from Eagle Ridge Mall has been described as a middle-aged, stocky white man. He was reportedly wearing a gray shirt and gray hat at the time. He is being called a person of interest at this time.
8. A third device was suspected
A device was discovered near a movie theater in the mall. At first, it was deemed suspicious but was later deemed safe. Earlier reports cited several other suspicious devices.
9. Not being called terrorism at this time
[Photo: Getty Images]
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