Police: Suspected Rifle That Closed Burlington Mall Was An Umbrella

BURLINGTON (CBS) – State police have located a man who witnesses at the Burlington Mall thought was carrying a rifle; and confirmed the item was actually an umbrella.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports

The man, who is a worker at nearby Lahey Clinic, contacted police after realizing he fit the description of the news reports. Officers were able to use surveillance video and witnesses to confirm that man was the person they had been looking for.

“He called here and said, ‘I think they’re looking for me. I was in the mall and I was carrying an umbrella,’” said Burlington chief Michael Kent.

umbrellarifle3 Police: Suspected Rifle That Closed Burlington Mall Was An Umbrella

The umbrella, without its case on. (credit: Burlington Police)

The initial report came in Tuesday around 10 a.m., from two women inside Nordstrom.

Mall security called 911 and federal, state, and local police descended on the mall.

According to state police, the witnesses reported seeing a short white man wearing a gray sweatshirt, black pants, and a black backpack, carrying what at the time, was thought to be a rifle.

Everyone inside was told to get out. “We got a call to evacuate the mall there’s a mall running around with a gun,” recalls Dotti Gerrior, who works at the Victoria’s Secret inside the mall.

Police spent the morning questioning close to a dozen people fitting the description, speeding from the scene to surrounding areas and closing off the parking lot outside of the store.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Officers from Burlington, Woburn, Wilmington, State Police, and the ATF all assisted with the search.

backpackrifleumbrella Police: Suspected Rifle That Closed Burlington Mall Was An Umbrella
(credit: Burlington Police)

SWAT teams were on scene and the state police helicopter was also circling the area.

Workers inside several stores inside the mall told WBZ-TV they had closed their store security gate around 10 a.m. and hid out until police gave the all clear.

A man who runs a kiosk inside the mall tells WBZ-TV that around 10:30 a.m. police came by and told him he had to leave. He described the evacuation as “orderly.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

“You couldn’t go down the Nordstrom alley. There was a bunch of police here saying ‘No, no, no, you can’t go down here,'” said Jim Kenyon. “I determined it was time to exit the mall. I didn’t know what was going on. There was a policeman where I exited the mall, but he allowed me to go, and there were a lot of employees and everybody on the sidewalk.”

The Lahey Clinic released a statement saying in part, “The Lahey employee is pleased he took appropriate action and contacted police, however he feels terrible about the situation.”

The mall was reopened, the investigation was closed and in the end Burlington Chief Michael Kent praised the witnesses who saw something and said something. “I would hope that if the exact same thing happened tomorrow that they would do the same thing as would we.”

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez contributed to this report.

  • Christina Cara Dartez

    That is so scary I hope they find him and nobody is hurt!

    • slinky

      yes, christina, we wouldn’t want to have anyone shot by a scary guy with an umbrella.

    • Greg

      Man goes into Brookstones, buys a new umbrella and decides to go over to Nordstroms to pick something up for his wife. He needs to use the rest room and is wearling his london fog long rain jacket. Two elderly woman assume it’s a rifle and call police. Well, that’s my version of the story.

    • Herp derp

      …it’s an UMBRELLA. There’s nobody to ‘find,’ nobody’s GOING to get hurt.

  • Lori Urgan

    Not funny Mark

    It is school vacation week, I myself have 1 middle school and 1 high school age kid.

  • Andres

    You are reporting on something you are saying don’t know if it’s true. What kind of reporting is that. Please, geto off the air.

    • Fred

      this guy is right.

  • beverly melo

    Hello?? They don’t even know if this alleged guy a) exists, b) isn’t carrying an umbrella that some yahoo mistook for a gun, or c) hasn’t left the mall hours ago! Talk about beating a non-story to death for the entire broadcast!

  • john

    How can this be…Doesnt Mass. have strict gun control laws? Just more proof that laws dont make you safe!

    • BillBob

      What gun? Did anyone see a gun. What was reported was something that looks like a gun.

    • PatHenry52

      Yes, including fingerprinting.. so why don’t they know exactly who it is?? Huh, still waiting for an answer.

    • Thomas Hood

      Laws don’t go off by accident when you are cleaning them and kill your 8 year old either.

      • PatHenry52

        Neither do guns…. And you’d have to break both the fundamental rules of firearms for such to happen. Finger off the trigger and barrel in safe direction… No sane gun owner “accidently” sets off their firearm and kills somebody.

        Anybody who makes this claim is really saying “I intentionally shot the person and now don’t want to get in trouble.”

        Laws deliberately go off and cause far more harm than any firearm.

      • Michael

        no, they just make criminals out of innocent people….how someone could be deemed “bad” not by their actions, but by their possesions is beyond me.

      • JP

        Who cleans a gun with ammo in it? Only someone not fit to own one.

    • Don

      Our gun laws don’t work, because they’re done on a state, and we do not have guarded borders between the states. For gun laws to work in the US, they’d have to be national.

      (Note: I’m not saying whether we *should* have gun laws. Please don’t mention our international borders, because they are lots of others to tighten them anyway.)

      • T.Wilson

        Like keeping drugs out of prisons? How’s that working out?

  • Michael Lau


    • JoeC

      You sir just made my day.

  • Alex

    WOW! Nobody knows if this is even true..Two women reported this and they havent found anything!!! Get off the air and put The Price is Right back on!!!

    • http://seamusvsjay.wordpress.com jaymeers

      How can you watch the price is right with Drew Carey, he’s insufferable.

  • Jerry

    Don’t they know what security camera’s are…

  • hungry

    i’m just upset he interrupted my lunch plans..

    • Joe Oliveira

      srsly! I’m hungry.

  • Angry Bird

    The breaking news is that they don’t know what they are reporting, they don’t know if what they think they should be reporting is true and that they are replacing the most succesfull daytime show on CBS for a story that doesn’t exist. BREAKING NEWS: We are wasting resources in a non story, but we are happy you are watching and complaining.

    • Ellen

      I was looking at channel 5, Same thing, and when they did finally come to the conclusion that it was nothing more then someone mistakenly confusing an umbrella to a shot gun, they still went on and on about this so called Breaking News.

    • Getoffthecouch

      You’re missing The Price Is Right? Aw, boo. Get a life.

  • Jules

    Please put The Price Is Right back on. This is the most irresponsible sensationalizing I’ve ever seen. Get off the air until something has actually been confirmed.

    How about this:

    “Breaking news- Burlington Mall closed due to allegations of suspicious persons inside. Stay tuned for updates. We will let you know if and when anything actually happens.”

  • Vickie

    We are we watching “BREAKING NEWS” on a situation that has not been confirmed and no actual action has been taken. Reporters are being very repetitive about an evacuation and we have to listen to this. IT IS BORING and should not preempt regular programming for this. Quite frankly, I’d rather be watching The Price Is Right. When the allegations have been proven to be true, report then but right now what I’m seeing is unnecessary. For your sake I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a false allegation because then everyone will see how tax payer funds have been wasted and reporters look like idiots while actual crimes are being committed.

  • bob

    put on price is right!!

    • jerry

      worst. news broadcast. ever.

    • YoYo


  • some guy


  • PatHenry52

    So how are those defense prohibitions working?? Not so well it seems…. I mean, just lift some fingerprints and run them against the database and see who it is. Otherwise, why did I have to be fingerprinted for my class A license??

  • billy mays

    i bet this is a lie just to get everyone paranoid.

  • chuck chuckson

    put on price is right!! im missing plinko!

  • chuck chuckson


  • Jerry Fan

    And this is why we’re now watching Jerry Springer.

  • emom

    HELLO was the security guards totally asleep today,,,, where they watching a movie……. was there more than these two ladies in the dressing room area,,, come on security cameras, that will shed some light on this,,, oh great now the fire departments are there and special police force is pulling up ok something must be up but they will not say what it is.. could this short man be a short teen out to hurt some people he knows,, who knows,,, wheres the SECURITY CAMERAS, WHERES THE SECURITY GUARDS,,,,,, ARE THEY AT THE ARCADE,,,,,,OR FOOD COURT,,,,

    • PatHEnry52

      But the Paul Blart movie WAS filmed at Burlington… so….

    • Anon

      Why do you always have ridiculous expectations of what people’s responsibilities are supposed to be. Mall security guards aren’t there to protect people from armed assailants, they’re there to kick out punk teenagers and such. They secure the mall, not the people in it. If there is a real problem all they are even authorized to do is call the police, which has clearly been done.

      • emom

        well sorry, I have seen them do just that secure people and go after some in the mall,, They also have security cameras near them to monitor,, I see security guards chase people before,, and detain for the cops, maybe not armed but they do intervine ,,,,, in this case a security camera they are monitoring could have shed plenty of light on this problem…..

      • Jerry Fan

        no one is suggesting that Paul Blarth & company hop on their Segways and take down the “alleged shooter”; but it would seem logical to expect that if a dude in a black trench coat is striding through the food court with an M-80 over his shoulder, the security guards PROBABLY should have noticed that.

      • Anon

        Correct, and there wasn’t, so they didn’t.

  • bob


  • Boo

    On “WBZ-TV’s David Wade Spoke To A Witness”….

    This is not a witness…. a witness is someone who actually saw/heard something/anything, not one who just watched the mall get closed and talked to a mall employee who also knew nothing about the incident.

    This is terrible reporting, thanks for wasting my time.

  • timma

    my corn flakes are soggy…. :(

  • jimmy jim jimmy

    oh. now they aint going to put THIS on at wbz news at noon. they going to put stuff about a guy winning 3 bucks in the lottery.

  • 3

    i better get a 2 hour marathon of price is right tommorow.

    • YouForgot0124&5

      Damn! I gotta watch Drew Carey! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo… it’s not like it doesn’t play EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY.

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