Authorities put a shopping mall in Paramus, New Jersey, on lockdown late Monday after a gunman fired at least one shot but no one was injured, the town's mayor said.
The shooter is believed to have fled the mall, Mayor Richard Labarbiera said on CNN, citing police. He said one shell casing had been found, despite earlier reports that several shots were heard.
“Everyone in the mall is well,” he said.
The shooting erupted at the Garden State Plaza Mall around 9:20 pm local time, CNN television reported. One gunman dressed in black was being sought by police, NBC said.
Witnesses gave varying accounts of the number of shots they heard, the reports said.
Many stores scrambled to close their gates at the popular mall in a suburban area near New York City.
Shocked workers and shoppers scurried out in the incident that recalled September's tragedy at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya where an attack claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab killed at least 67 people.
Monday's incident was the latest in the epidemic of gun violence plaguing the United States.
On Friday a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles airport and killed a Transportation Security Administration agent.
The FBI said he was carrying a note saying he planned to kill multiple officers. The 23-year-old suspect faces a possible death penalty on charges of murdering a federal officer.
On October 24 a U.S. soldier who opened fire at a Tennessee recruiting center after being reprimanded for misconduct was indicted on attempted murder charges.
Three members of the Tennessee National Guard were struck in the crossfire but none suffered serious injuries.
The October 24 shooting came a month after a massacre left 13 people dead, including the gunman, at a major Navy facility in Washington, D.C. The gunman was shot dead.
A shooting spree at four homes and a gas station in Texas left five people dead and a suspect in custody on October 29.
And in a particularly alarming case, an 11-year-old US student appeared in court on October 24 on suspicion of attempted murder after bringing a handgun and 400 rounds of ammunition into school.
In the latest in a spate of incidents in US schools, the boy also allegedly brought “multiple” knives to the Frontier Middle School in Vancouver, in Washington state.
That same week police in California shot and killed a 13-year-old boy who was carrying a pellet gun that officers said looked like an assault rifle.
The child was walking down a street in the northern town of Santa Rosa when sheriff's deputies saw him carrying what appeared to be a rifle.
They ordered him to drop it “and at some point immediately thereafter, the deputies fired several rounds from their handguns at the subject striking him several times,” according to a statement from the Sonoma county sheriff's office.
U.S. mall put on lockdown over gunman attack