On Nov. 16, 57-year-old security guard Norman Thomas was fatally shot during a jewelry store robbery at the River Oaks Center in Calumet City, Ill., reports say.
The shooting represented at least the second jewelry-industry fatality during a crime this year.
The incident forced the entire mall into lockdown for over an hour. The mall was closed after the incident, and it is not clear when it would reopen.
The robbers reportedly ran out of the store with an unknown amount of jewelry and fled the scene in a car. Thomas was taken to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. A second man sustained minor injuries and was treated on the scene, reports said.
In a press conference, Calumet City spokesperson Sean Howard criticized mall management for lax security.
“These owners have not been very neighbor-friendly,” he said. “The residents here have a very negative opinion of this mall.… [We want to] ensure, when residents come in, that every safety procedure and every precaution has been taken.”
The mall owners could not be reached for comment.
One shopper, Tracy McGrew, told ABC7 she was holiday shopping at Macy’s when she heard the gunshots. At first she thought it was another mass shooting. She and a clerk hid in a storage closet.
“I was in the middle of something that I’ve only witnessed on TV,” she said. “It was just surreal.”
Another shopper, Tonya Davis, was getting her nails done when she heard gunfire.
“All of a sudden, the people, the rest of the owners, and the other lady, we just dropped down to the floor to take cover,” she told CBS News.
The Jewelers’ Security Alliance recommends that any jeweler who is the victim of a robbery should not resist, as that puts both employees and customers at risk.
Other crime prevention tips for jewelers can be seen here.
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