Weapons used in South Carolina mall incident likely replicas: police

Reports of gunfire that cleared a South Carolina mall last weekend may have been made by airsoft guns, not weapons with actual bullets, police said on Monday.

Columbia police are investigating reports of two males whom witnesses initially said fired handguns into the air during a fistfight at the Columbiana Centre mall on Saturday night.

A search near the mall turned up a book bag carrying airsoft guns, which look like real guns and shoot non-deadly projectiles not real bullets, according to a statement posted on the Columbia Police Department’s Facebook page. Two of the airsoft guns resembled handguns, the statement said.

Witnesses who have been interviewed since the incident, which cleared hundreds from the mall when police ordered an evacuation, have told authorities that while they heard gunfire, they could not confirm that they saw the two men discharge any weapons.

No injuries have been reported and no suspects have been identified. Police are canvassing mall stores to find out if surveillance video will yield more information, but so far they have not found any, according to the statement.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Fort Worth, Texas; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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