By Kim Minugh
Arden Fair Mall is open for business this evening after false reports of a shooting sent shoppers and employees into a panic earlier this evening.
Sacramento police have detained four juveniles who are suspected to have been responsible for the chaos. According to police spokesman Officer Doug Morse, about 20 juveniles were running through the mall, knocking over signs and shoppers and "just causing an absurd disturbance."
The confusion prompted numerous calls before 5 p.m. of shots fired and a gunman, reports that were quickly discounted by security and police officers.
Stores inside the mall went on brief lockdown but opened back up for business by 6 p.m.
The initial reports drew dozens of officers to the mall within minutes, including Sacramento County sheriff's deputies who were nearby.
"It's the worst-case scenario," Morse said. "Reports like this are very serious. In these times, it's what we all dread in our community."
Morse applauded the mall's security system, and said the mall's contract with off-duty, uniformed Sacramento police officers helped officials quickly assess the situation and dispute the erroneous reports.
PHOTO: Sacramento police officers respond to reports of a disturbance at Arden Fair mall on Wednesday, December 26, 2012. Justin Gonzales/Special to Sacbee.com