NEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) - A suspect was in custody on Tuesday and one person wounded after shots were fired during a robbery attempt at a crowded shopping mall on New York's Long Island, according to officials.
The incident caused chaos at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York, during the peak of the holiday shopping season.
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A Nassau County official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said one mall employee was shot and taken to a local hospital, where the worker was in serious but stable condition.
The suspect was believed to have fired a gun after trying to rob one of the mall's more than 270 stores, the official said.
Samantha Zelnik, 22, was shopping for clothes in the lower level of Forever 21 when employees began running down from the store's upper level, saying that shots had been fired at Victoria's Secret.
Several customers and employees retreated to a stockroom before a manager eventually let them escape the mall through an emergency exit.
"I started shaking," Zelnik said. "I didn't know if there was going to be a way to get out."
Customers appeared to have been evacuated from the mall, she said, with some running for their cars.
Zelnik said she already worries about visiting crowded public places like shopping malls after a spate of mass shootings in the United States in recent years.
"I'm just always anxious about going to big places like that," she said. County police were expected to hold a press conference at the mall at 2:30 p.m.
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