However, police said their preliminary investigation “suggests that an unknown juvenile male entered a theater playing the movie ‘IT Chapter Two’ and shouted that there was a shooter, causing patrons to run from the theater yelling for people to call 9-1-1.”
In the ensuing panic, police were dispatched to multiple emergency calls to the 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard at about 8:38 p.m.
Patrons from the surrounding area, which includes restaurants and shops, began self-evacuating, while police locked down the theater and Ballston Quarter and started a systematic search. The search was completed in about an hour, and the garage reopened after midnight, police said.
One person suffered a minor injury while fleeing and was transported to a hospital, police said. Police directed people who left personal property to claim it through individual businesses, or if their belongings were left in a public food hall area, to call the county’s emergency communications center to retrieve them from the police department.
The investigation remains active, and police asked people with information related to the incident to call the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
The mall is near N. Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard, a main commercial intersection in North Arlington.
The panic echoed a June 8 episode at Dupont Circle in Washington, when a man with a BB gun who was angry at another man for hitting his partner prompted hundreds of people to flee the Capital Pride Parade, sending crowds running through the streets, fearing an active shooter.
D.C. police determined there was no evidence of gunshots being fired.