Memorial City Mall chaos: Family feels lingering effects of food court threat

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

HOUSTON - The chaos at Memorial City Mall Sunday is taking a toll on Maritza Troche and her family.

Troche said she was shopping for shoes with her daughter Heidi and her granddaughter Maritza when they found themselves in the middle of an active shooter scare.

The panic was caused by a man walking through the food court, jumping on a table, threatening to kill himself and throwing an unknown object to the ground.

Troche said her family ran for the exit but her daughter Heidi was hurt. She ripped a calf muscle as she was leaving the mall.

What Troche said

Troche said the entire family is now suffering from severe anxiety and is afraid to be in public places.

Q: What did you hear?

A: What I heard was thumping, this boom, boom, boom and now in hindsight I think it was the people on the second floor that were trying to get out of the store.

Q: Describe what it was like inside the mall.

A: We're not talking about 300 to 400 people. You’re talking about thousands of people trying to get out any exit, trying to hide in every corner.

Q: What kind of effect has it had on you?

A: Even yesterday, when I was trying to get to Walmart, the anxiety I felt being in there. I was looking into where’s my next exit? Where do I need to run?

Q: What kind of effect has it had on your granddaughter?

A: She didn’t even want to go to school today. I know that for everything that’s going on the school has a lot of security right now but I don’t blame her for not wanting to go to school because they are away from the family.

What’s next

Troche said her family will attend therapy sessions together to try and cope with their anxiety and fear of being in public places.

If you have any information on Sunday's scare or recognize the person responsible, Houston police are asking you call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

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