(CMR) At least four Caymanians were at the Florida Mall this evening when some loud noise was mistaken for gun shots. Reports are that 50,000 people were at the mall this evening when the incident occurred.
The Caymanians who are vacation in the Orlando, Florida area were badly shaken up by the experience and shared the details with Cayman Marl Road.
“We had a bad experience at the Florida Mall in Orlando around 5:00 pm when we heard a loud noise that sounded like gun shots. Between 3-5 times literally in front of us; as we were walking to the food court.”
“We run like never before with my 2-year-old grandson, 17-year old-daughter, my husband and I. You don't know what to do, where to run until they lock us inside foot locker store for about 1 hour or more.
It was complete chaos. Elder people were on the ground because they could not run, cell phones, strollers everything was dropped.”
When they finally made it to safety inside the Foot Locker others were knocking at the door trying to get in; including a lady with a new born. At that point, they were secured towards the rear of the store but it was still heart wrenching to know that others were outside and potentially in harms way.
They explained that the people running towards them made it even more confusing as it was unclear if someone was chasing them or if they were running away from the “gunshots”. One of the Caymanians admitted that she suffered a panic attack as a result of the incident. She shared with us:
“We would like to said to everyone to hug your families and friends, as we don't know when our last day will be. Stay safe! This is the most scary day of our life. I had a panic attack because we was running and running and do not where to go, what to expect, my 17-year- old daughter wasn't running fast enough and that's why i start feeling my chest tight. My husband was running with our grandson and I was screaming for my daughter.
Believe or not, I have been crying all night and just want to go back home to Cayman.”
As she shared this first hand account she stated that she's still tears some three hours later.
Reports are that Orange County deputies were still trying to “restore order” almost an hour after the incident, which began just after 5 p.m. in the food court of the mall. They also confirmed that about 18 persons sustained some injuries and 8 were transported to local hospitals. One persons was on advanced life support was a result.
Authorities arrested two people in relation to the inicde. The two arrested have been identified as Jenny Ochoa, 39, and Anthony Manuel, 55. They were charged with battery and disorderly conduct in a public establishment.
Deputies said the incident was sparked by a fight that broke out between Ochoa and Manuel. A few chairs fell down, and the loud bangs caused by the chairs were mistaken for gunshots in the crowded area. As people ran in fear, several people were injured. Deputies said at least one of the people had a seizure.
Eyewitnesses further confirm that police response was swift with 30 police units attending to the mall.