Burlington Mall Gun Scare Turns Out to be Man With an Umbrella

Apr 19, 2011, 15:28 by Greg Stacy

A Burlington Mall gun scare today turned out to be a shopper with an umbrella.

The Burlington Police Department has issued a statement detailing how the man with the umbrella accidentally set off a panic that led to multiple law enforcement departments, including Massachusetts State Police, converging on the mall to search for a gunman.

According to the release, around 10 a.m. this morning Burlington Mall Security contacted the Burlington Police Department to report that two women inside the Burlington Mall's Nordstrom store had called to report that a white male subject, dressed in black clothing and carrying what appeared to be a rifle, had just entered the store's lower level bathroom.

Burlington officers were promptly dispatched to the mall, where they headed for the store and cleared the bathroom, reporting that they didn't find anyone fitting the description of the alleged gunman.  The Burlington Police Department and several outside agencies then began to secure inner and outer perimeters around the mall and started evacuating the mall.

Approximately one hour into the incident, the authorities received a call from who a worker at the nearby Leahy Clinic, who said he fit the description in the news reports. The officers used surveillance video and witnesses to confirm that man was the person they were looking for. The alleged rifle turned out to be an umbrella that the man was carrying in a sling-like case.

"My job and the job of the Burlington Police Department is to keep the community safe and we will always err on the side of caution," Burlington police chief Michael Kent said. "We had five people say it was a weapon. We tell people to be aware and vigilant and report anything suspicious and we take all calls seriously. If the same thing happened tomorrow we would have the same response."