SOUTH BURLINGTON -- While saying the investigation is still in a “very preliminary” stage, the South Burlington Police Department (SBPD) stated in a press release late Monday night that there was no active shooter scenario at the University Mall earlier in the evening.
Around 5:12 p.m. Feb. 1, SBPD is said to have received multiple reports of gunshots at the mall, triggering a mutual aid response which involved personnel from the Burlington, Winooski, University of Vermont, and Williston police departments, Vermont State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and South Burlington Fire & Rescue.
SBPD Emergency Communications sent a notification to media outlets at 5:55 p.m. advising that people avoid the area as agencies were working on what was described as an "active incident." South Burlington Police Chief Shawn Burke followed up with that advisory at 9:34 p.m. saying that the mall was rendered safe and that a criminal investigation was underway.
It’s reported that officers were able to discern during the initial response that the shooting occurred as a result of a dispute among a group of people in the mall. It led to shoppers fleeing the property which caused a great deal of traffic congestion and confusion.
SBPD says law enforcement agencies on scene formed teams in order to search the property for suspects or injured parties. Following an exhaustive search, it was determined that the suspects had fled the area and that there was one injured person on site. That individual is reported as being a young male who was not involved in the shooting incident but was rather an innocent bystander. He was transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center for treatment of a minor projectile injury.
Detectives were reportedly working on a variety of leads as of late Monday night, including some based on video evidence. SBPD asks anyone with information about the shooting to contact the department at any time at (802) 846-4111.