Sioux Falls family recalls Mall of America shooting

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:20 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Aleah Clark was with her husband and daughter in the American Eagle store at the Mall of America when shots rang out.

Their family recently moved to Sioux Falls and decided to take a trip to the Mall of America to celebrate their daughter Peyton’s 13th birthday.

They say they were at American Eagle when the incident took place.

“Peyton was trying clothes on clothes in the dressing rooms in the back of American Eagle and Aleah was back with her and I was milling around in the store and hanging out front waiting for them and everybody started screaming and running,” said Tyler Clark.

He said his first response was to find his family

“Went to the back of the store to go get them out of the dressing room and tell them what was going on and by then there was a wave of people coming in the store and going back into the dressing room,” said Tyler Clark.

Next, they said they waited in anticipation of what could happen.

“We sat back there for almost three hours, and we waited for the police to come and knock on the back emergency exit door to let us know we could be evacuated,” said Aleah Clark.

Their daughter Peyton says it was a long wait

“I still had jeans that didn’t fit me on, so it was really uncomfortable, and we were all shoved in the back room,” said Peyton Clark.

After hours of waiting, their family was finally able to leave the mall as she saw the aftermath.

“Stores were shut down, it was just completely black, no lights on or anything and we followed one of the canine officers out,” said Aleah Clark.

Aleah says the experience scares her to go to other malls in the future

“I think about our little Empire Mall, and I love that mall and you don’t think that it could happen there either, but you know but you really just don’t know,” said Aleah Clark.

Moving forward she says it is something her family will never forget.

“It’s definitely going to be something we talk about more within our family you know especially as she just turned thirteen and she’s going to be exploring her own independence and going out with friends,” said Aleah Clark.

The Empire Mall was bought up during police briefing this morning.

Sgt. Aaron Benson said they maintain a good relationship with the Empire Mall security.

Police also consistently do walk throughs of the mall, they also work with staff on mall shooter drills.

Authorities from different agencies would be ready to respond should an incident happen.

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