Rumors abound after Mesilla Valley Mall goes into lockdown. Here's what really happened. – Las Cruces Sun-News

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Update: This story was updated at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 after receiving comments from Mesilla Valley Mall officials.
LAS CRUCES – Another lockdown at the mall was followed by another round of false rumors of an active shooter Wednesday evening. 
As police pursued a person they believed shoplifted a little after 5 p.m., rumors of an active shooter began to spread online. It’s the second such set of rumors to plague the Mesilla Valley Mall over the last few months. 
“What’s going on near downtown mall? Lots of police activity,” a Facebook poster asked. After several posters inquired about which mall, one poster said simply “active shooter.”
But, just like last time, there was no active shooter. 
The rumors — which are born and spread on Las Cruces’ myriad community Facebook pages — have an immeasurable impact on the businesses they target. 
Some of the misinformation stemmed from a false story that claimed LCPD was investigating a shooting at the mall and that the victim had yet to be identified. In reality, there was no shooting.
Instead, a spokesperson with the City of Las Cruces and a spokesperson with LCPD each confirmed that police were searching for a man they believed shoplifted. 
Mandy Guss, the communications director for the City of Las Cruces, said that mall security placed the mall on a brief lockdown as police searched for their suspect. Guss said the suspect ran away from police and “said something on the phone about a gun.”
Guss said that police searched the mall before allowing it to reopen. As of Thursday afternoon, no one had been arrested for the incident. 
A similar situation occurred in May when police responded to a group of men fighting outside the mall. In that situation, the mall was put on lockdown as police searched for the individuals in and around the mall. 
With the mall on lockdown, rumors circulated online about a shooting when no shooting occurred. A gun was discovered on one of the arrested individuals. 
On Dec. 20, Mesilla Valley Mall Manager Loretta Pina sent a news release to the Sun-News about the incident. In the release, she confirmed LCPD and the City of Las Cruces’ version of events. 
“At the guidance of local law enforcement, the mall was put in emergency lockdown and closed for a short period of time. As there was no present or immediate danger to the public found, the Las Cruces Police Department cleared the mall to resume business, and the mall is now operating as usual,” Pina said. 
“We are thankful for our partners at the Las Cruces Police Department, and we are fully cooperating with them as this investigation continues. We have no further comment at this time,” Pina said. 
Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Just516garc.
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Update: This story was updated at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 after receiving comments from Mesilla Valley Mall officials.LAS CRUCES – Another lockdown at the mall was followed by another round of false rumors of an active shooter Wednesday evening. As police pursued a person they believed shoplifted a little after 5 p.m., rumors of an active…

Update: This story was updated at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 after receiving comments from Mesilla Valley Mall officials.LAS CRUCES – Another lockdown at the mall was followed by another round of false rumors of an active shooter Wednesday evening. As police pursued a person they believed shoplifted a little after 5 p.m., rumors of an active…

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