Witnesses: Incident locks down Avenues Mall

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Some tense moments at the Avenues Mall on the Southside about 5:30 p.m. Friday when someone thought they heard a man yell, "I have a gun."

That caused a panic that led to police running through the mall with guns drawn and several stores going on lockdown.

A witness told New4Jax that what the man really said, "I lost my son."

A spokesperson for Simon Property Group, owner of the Avenues, said a father was separated from his young child and panicked. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the father was reunited with his child within minutes.

A witness said he and other customers were to move to the back of the store and employees closed the store's gate during the incident. Witnesses said they were in the back of the store for only a minute before they were allowed back out.

By early evening, the mall reopened for business as usual.

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