Security alert mistake sends mall shoppers and employees into safety mode

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- An alert meant to inform Willowbrook Mall retailers about a smash and grab robbery at a Zales Jewelry store in the mall, was instead sent out as an "active shooter" alert.

HPD says one of the Zales robbers displayed a gun, but no shots were fired.

The active shooter alert triggered stores to close their doors and usher customers in protected areas.

At an Apple store, one customer told us that meant a back room. "They didn't tell us why, but they led us into another room. We thought it was to show us the new iWatch, but it wasn't."

The store closures lasted about 20 minutes according to some merchants, though mall management said it was less than that.

"We meant to send out an alert regarding one tenant," said Diane Elkins, with Willlowbrook Mall. "The wrong alert was mistakenly sent."

HPD says no shots were fired during the Zales robbery. The two suspects both wore hoodies, and escaped into a waiting car. null
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