Two Improvised Explosive Devices Detonate at Florida Mall

Two Improvised Explosive Devices Detonated at Florida Mall

Two IEDs detonated at Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales, Florida.

Florida police are searching for a man witnesses saw running from a mall where two improvised explosive devices detonated Sunday, according to officials.

Lake Wales Deputy Police Chief Try Schulze told reporters that two pipe bombs appeared to have detonated in a service corridor near a JCPenny store at Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales, about 30 minutes east of Tampa, at about 5:30 p.m., a half-house before the mall was scheduled to close.

No shoppers were near the scene and there are no reports of injuries, according to the police. There was damage to a drop ceiling, however. The mall was evacuated as a precaution.

Police described the devices as flare-like objects in PVC pipe, wrapped in electrical tap. Had anyone been near when they went off, he or she surely would have been injured, Schulze said.

"It's very concerning to us," Schulze said. "We're a family-oriented community. This is a family-oriented mall. When this started, my son was actually working here at this mall. People here are shopping, just enjoying a Sunday afternoon or evening with their families, and literally, 'boom'."

Witnesses told police they saw a middle-aged, stalky white man wearing a gray shirt and a gray hat running from the scene. Schulze said that it wasn't known whether the man was involved but that investigators do consider him a person of interest for the time being.

"We are not calling this terrorism at this time, but it's up to the FBI, which has been notified," Schulze said.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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