The has put out a release detailing today's events and how a man with an umbrella caused multiple departments, including the Massachusetts State Police, to begin a search for a possible gunman at the .
According the release, at approximately 10:02 a.m. today, April 19, the Burlington Police Department received a call from Burlington Mall Security who reported that there was a white male subject dressed in all black clothing that appeared to be carrying a rifle and had just entered the lower level bathroom in the Nordstrom’s store.
Burlington officers were dispatched to the mall and immediately effected entry into the store upon arrival, the release states. The officers first on the scene cleared the bathroom and did not observe anyone fitting the description of the alleged gunman at that time. The Burlington Police Department, along with several outside agencies summoned through mutual aid, immediately began the process of securing inner and outer perimeters around the mall.
In a coordinated effort, police department personnel along with Burlington Mall officials began to evacuate the Mall. The NEMLEC (Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council) SWAT Team responded and began a tactical search of the mall for the alleged gunman, Burlington Police explain.
At approximately one hour into the incident, Burlington officers and detectives were able to ascertain the identity of an individual who was positively identified by witnesses as the individual entering the bathroom with the alleged rifle, the release states. Through their investigation Burlington Detectives were able to confirm with certainty that the item believed to be a rifle was in fact an umbrella that was contained in a sling like case (See pictures at right).
Burlington Police Chief explained that though today's incident ultimately was shown to be a response to a non-threat, police acted on the information available at the time. All threats must be taken seriously, he said.
"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," 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."
The Burlington Police Department would like to thank all the outside agencies that assisted during this incident. Including the Mass. State Police, and departments from Woburn, Billerica, Lexington, Wilmington, and Bedford, the release state. Also assisting were the ATF, ICE, NEMLEC SWAT, and the NEMLEC RRT (Regional Response Team).