False report of active shooter draws police to Ontario Mills mall

An exterior of the Ontario Mills mall
Police are investigating a false report of an active shooter at the Ontario Mills mall that created panic among shoppers Monday.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

A false report of an active shooter drew police to Ontario Mills mall Monday, investigators said.

“A shooting did not happen,” Ontario Police Chief Mike Lorenz wrote in a tweet. “Ontario PD is investigating the person who made the false claim.”

Video posted to social media showed a largely empty food court strewn with overturned chairs. Two people crouched on the ground behind a booth.


Police were first called to the mall about 1:45 p.m., said Sgt. Joe Estrada, public information officer with the Ontario Police Department.

“The call was just reporting a disturbance of people running through the mall, and it just developed and created panic,” he said.

Subsequent callers alleged they saw someone with a gun and heard gunshots, he said. The person who reported an active shooter had called police on behalf of a family member who was in the mall, he said. Police found no evidence to support the shooting reports, he said.

It’s possible the noises thought to be gunshots were created by people running through the mall and bumping into things as they tried to escape, which has happened in the past, he added.

There was nothing to indicate that someone had intentionally phoned in a false shooting report, but police and mall security were continuing to investigate, he said.

The mall remained open for business, although some stores chose to close for the rest of the day, Estrada said.


“We did provide a couple of additional officers out there,” he said, “just to give people peace of mind while they’re shopping today.”