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Umbrella Causes Gun Scare At Burlington Mall

It turned out the man had an umbrella.

Police "located and questioned the person seen in Nordstrom’s who was reported as having a rifle. The male does not have a weapon. He was reportedly holding an umbrella," State Police said in a statement. "There was no threat."

In this cell phone image, SWAT team members and local police line up in the Burlington Mall as it's searched. (Courtesy)
In this cell phone image, SWAT team members and local police line up in the Burlington Mall as it's searched. (Courtesy)

The man, described as a short white male with a gray shirt and a backpack, called State Police himself to report that he was the person being sought.

Witnesses and surveillance footage confirmed that the man was the person witnesses thought had a gun. The mall has reopened.

State and local police had searched mall property and surrounding areas, including grounds near the Lahey Clinic, where the man works. They had also evacuated customers and store employees.

Maria Fonseca, from Arlington, was inside a computer store at the mall.

"All of a sudden, everyone said, 'Get out, get out! You gotta get out of the store,' " Fonseca said. "So I thought somebody was joking, but no, they were dead serious. They were pushing all of us out, and I looked out in the corridor and I saw policemen with rifles!"

The Lahey Clinic says the employee is pleased he took appropriate action by contacting police, but "feels terrible about the situation."

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press.

This program aired on April 19, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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