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Chaos at Florida mall caused by two popped balloons, police say

Surveillance videos released
Posted at 6:31 PM, Oct 17, 2019

After reviewing store surveillance videos, police in Boca Raton, Florida, now believe two popped balloons sparked panic on Sunday.

Earlier in the week they revealed a janitor popped one balloon when it got stuck under his wheel. Further investigation has revealed that juveniles in the Holllister store near the food court popped a balloon about two minutes after the janitor's balloon dropped, police said.

Surveillance video showed people in the food court visibly reacting to a loud sound in the area. Some mistook the sounds for gunfire which sparked panic.

Boca Raton Fire Rescue initially said one person suffered a gunshot wound. However, it was later determined the victim, identified as 30-year-old Julus Augustin, actually hit his head on the push bar of a door while trying to run out of the mall.

Police said their research revealed that popped balloons have sparked active shooter scares in other parts of the country and say many sounds can be mistaken for gunfire or explosions, such as popping balloons, slamming push bars on doors, and items being dropped on a floor.

Police say the juveniles who popped the balloon won't be punished.