South Shore Plaza Locked Down After Shooting

The South Shore Plaza mall in Braintree was put on lockdown and subsequently evacuated Friday night after a shooting.

Police believe two gang members happened to cross paths in a store, leading to an exchange of gunfire.

"The shooting occurred in the Macy's store, in the shoe department," Braintree police chief Paul Shastany said. "This incident appears to be related to gang activity. This was a happenstance occurrence where people from Boston gang affiliates bumped into each other here in Braintree, and due to tensions, it escalated in a shooting."

Shastany added that there were no casualties.

Local police initially said the shooting took place at the food court, but later confirmed it happened at the department store.

"I was standing at the register and the girls were yelling there was an active shooter," said Macy’s sales manager Deb Merritt, who helped evacuate customers. "We calmed everyone down... we got them out here ... made sure we got the store clear."

Additionally, state police initially said one or both of the people involved appeared to be injured, but they later said that is unclear.

It was also unclear where the suspects are at this point, Braintree police said. State police said earlier the two people involved were believed to have fled on foot immediately after the shooting. 

People inside the mall were required to shelter in place. After multiple law enforcement teams combed through the mall, everyone got out safely, according to police.

"We were all just hiding and huddling," said shopper Debbie Yanowski, who was looking at coats in Lord & Taylor. "It was the most scariest thing ... I have never been so scared."

Anyone who witnessed this incident is asked to call Braintree police. Authorities said they have an idea who they are looking for.

People were advised to stay away from the mall following the shooting.

Simon Malls, which owns South Shore Plaza, had no comment.

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