HOUSTON - Police released surveillance video Wednesday of two persons of interest in connection with an incident that panicked shoppers at Memorial City Mall during the weekend.
The video shows a male in a green shirt walking with a male in a gray shirt through the mall’s food court Sunday before a masked person jumps on a table, threatens suicide and drops something. The scene started a stampede of shoppers, some of whom claimed to have heard gunshots. Police later said no shots were fired.
Another video shows someone in a green shirt wearing either a red cap or a mask running past a bank of escalators near the food court.
“He knows he’s up to no good,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said of the person seen running in the video.
Acevedo said the two males seen in the video are believed to be tied together and that investigators want to identify both.
Acevedo requested that people who were in the food court and witnessed the incident call the police and tell investigators what they saw.
“We need the people in the food court to come forward and to let us know exactly what happened ... exactly what you witnessed, exactly what was yelled,” Acevedo said.
The chief said that after the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, people are on edge.
“The American people, their nerves are frayed right now, and this is not the time to try to create the chaos that this individual created at Memorial City Mall,” Acevedo said. "Like the old saying says, the First Amendment does not allow you to yell fire in a theater. It doesn't allow you to do things that cause a panic and people stampeding out of a very busy area."
Acevedo said whoever caused the mass hysteria will likely be charged with communication of a terroristic threat.
“You’re truly playing with fire,” Acevedo said. “You’re playing with your freedom.”
Anyone with information about the identity of the males seen in the video is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.
Police said since releasing the surveillance videos, they have received tips but need more clues.
“A message to him: It would be a lot better for him to just come forward. If you’re that person that we’re looking for ... that’s one of the things judges and juries look for. ... Are you owning it? Are you coming forward? Or are you making the Police Department come and find you? We’re going to find him," Acevedo said.
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