A lot of people have questions following yesterday's bomb scare at the Beverly Center.
Chief among them, perhaps, is whether security and police overreacted to the threat posted by a man's report that a suspicious package was waiting for him in his car, parked in the center's lot.
The announcement that everyone must evacuate, paired with an ominous, 9/11-esque siren, sent throngs into the streets …
… at Beverly and La Cienega boulevards.
One witness told Fox 11 News that she feared a stampede was about to commence as people headed down escalators and out doors.
Another said that a mall official came over loudspeakers to declare that it wasn't a drill — that shoppers needed to evacuate. People started to run, she told Fox 11.
— Claudia Peschiutta (@ReporterClaudia) March 24, 2013
The situation unfolded at the mall near Beverly Hills shortly before 1:30 p.m., with BHScanner tweeting the first report of evacuations that we would find.
— Weho Daily (@WehoDaily) March 24, 2013
If you're driving by the Beverly Center don't be a dick and fucking not stop for people sprinting out of a bomb threatened building wtf
— ♡ pizza princess ♡ (@mrsgeazy) March 24, 2013
Fortunately an LAPD bomb squad robot detonated the package and all was well about 4:15 p.m., cops told City News Service. The package turned out to be a briefcase, Fox 11 said.
In the meantime, at least one mall-goer said evacuees who retrieved their cars from the Beverly Center lot still had to pay for parking.
Only the Beverly Center would deny people their cars during a bomb scare and then try to charge them $10 for parking: twitter.com/DrewUnga/statu…
— Andrew Ungvari (@DrewUnga) March 25, 2013
We're all for living and stuff. And we appreciate the job cops do to keep us that way. But we wonder if maybe this situation could have been isolated without the mass evacuation.
We happened to be on the USC campus more than a year ago when authorities got a similar report of a suspicious package in a parking structure. There were no ominous alarms. People were not told to rush. In fact, an event at the school went on as the structure was cordoned off and the report was found to be, as usual, unfounded.