Fashion Place Mall shooting prompts concerns about building’s false fire alarms

Local News

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Visitors at Fashion Place Mall were concerned at the lack of urgency and delayed response from employees after a fire alarm went off shortly before a gang-related shooting Sunday afternoon.

In cell phone video obtained from witnesses, the fire alarm could be heard before the shooting occurred.

“The alarm that went off at Fashion Place Mall was actually an inadvertent alarm that they’ve been having trouble with for a couple of days,” said Ofcr. Kenny Bass with the Murray Police Department. “It just happened to be going off prior to the verbal altercation and continued until they (suspects and victims) went outside. So the alarm actually has nothing to do with the shooting itself.”

Mall employees told ABC4 News after evacuating the mall that false fire alarms go off often, as frequently as once a day. That’s why Sunday afternoon’s fire alarm didn’t initially concern them.

“We weren’t really evacuating our store just because the fire alarm normally just goes on and it’s not an actual fire drill,” said Abigail Bagshaw, a mall employee.
“We didn’t know if it was real or not because the fire alarm goes off at least once a day here at the mall,” said Londa Leung, a mall employee.
It wasn’t until employees noticed law enforcement entering with firearms and visitors running that they knew something was wrong.

“Ten minutes later, there was another alarm that went off that we never heard before,” said Sam Stapely, an employee at J. Crew. “It said, ‘Evacuate or seek shelter.'”

Representative Carol Spackman Moss was there at the mall during the time of the shooting. After evacuating, she tweeted about the incident and said she received messages from several mall employees on social media.
“They agreed with me about my concerns with the mall’s false fire alarms,” said Rep. Moss. “The fact that I’ve now learned that this was a false alarm and the shooting started right after that causes me even more concern because who is going to believe it?”
She is a former school teacher and emphasized the importance of a large building’s alarm system. 
“Even when it was a drill, I told my students we had to evacuate the building,” she said. “They would ask me, ‘Do we really have to? It’s cold outside.’ I said, ‘YES!’ If people get used to it, you desensitize them to any kind of emergency.”
Firefighters with the Unified Fire Department said it’s concerning when people become complacent with a system that is supposed to alert a large number of people of an emergency. But said it’s possible that the mall’s alarm system may be undergoing repair. In cases like those, mall officials may communicate to dispatch to not respond to any alarms until they receive a call from them.
Rep. Moss said she would like to see mall officials take initiative to improve their safety procedures.
“I think they need to sit down with the police officers and see if their plan is adequate,” she said. “I don’t know what kind of training their employees have, but there ought to be some meetings.”
Messages to Fashion Place Mall’s owner, Brookfield Properties have not been returned.

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