ORLANDO, Fla. - Two scary situations over the weekend left people in Orlando frightened. Both times people feared for the worst as they fled public spaces.
Confusion and chaos caused people to run from The Florida Mall on Saturday in a panic. Two people in the mall say the moment felt like a blur.
"The only thing in this day and age all you’re thinking is, 'Oh my God, something bad is going on," said Brady Prince who was on vacation in Orlando with his fiancée. They were inside the Hollister at The Florida Mall as people started running and screaming. "Then we see probably 20 to 30 people running out through the back door, and I’m like we got to go," said Prince.
Prince didn’t hear what sparked the panic, but some people were shouting about a shooting in the mall. Orange County sheriff's deputies say there were no shots fired, but instead, it may have been fireworks nearby.
"They say it was fireworks, but we didn’t know what it was until after we were out of the parking lot and on the way home and at that point, all I was thinking is how many people have gotten injured."
Confusion also filled the air around Universal CityWalk Orlando. People evacuating the area amidst alarms could be heard asking what was going on. Orlando police officers had CityWalk evacuated out of caution after a large fight in the parking garage between a bunch of kids. They said no weapons were found, and no arrests were made.
"It’s almost like there’s no certain place for them. It can happen at your mall, at your store, grocery store, or house party," said former detective James Copenhaver.
Copenhaver said families need to regularly practice and discuss what to do in case of the worst-case scenario.
"As a family, you should know the exit areas; stay away from large crowded areas. If you are seeing a crowd to the left, you may want to go to the right just to avoid that large crowd of people," said Copenhaver.
Copenhaver also wants to remind people that if you see something, say something. Even though it may be nothing, there is a chance what you report can save a life.