DEARBORN — On Monday November 9, Fairlane Town Center and its surrounding area was put in a lock down by Dearborn Police following a shooting inside the mall.
The incident took place around 4:45 p.m., when an argument between two men ensued inside a jewelry store on the second floor. One man grabbed a pair of Cartier glasses off the other’s face. The second man became angry, pulled out a gun and began shooting.
Although two shots were fired, no injuries occurred during the incident. Those involved in the brawl allegedly attempted to flee the scene.
Within seconds, mall security ordered customers to seek shelter inside the stores. They were placed on lockdown for more than an hour.
Within minutes, an emergency text message alert was sent to students at Henry Ford College and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Both campuses, located across the street from the mall, reacted accordingly. Henry Ford College ordered its campus into a lockdown, while the University of Michigan Dearborn cancelled all of its evening classes.
During the lockdown, both customers and mall employees were active on social media, fueling fears across the region that a shooter had been on the loose.
Two mall employees said they heard shots coming from the second level when they were near the Rainbow Store on the lower level about 4:30 p.m.
A business owner who was inside the mall when the incident occurred described it as a "ghost town" during the lockdown.
After police investigated the property, the mall’s lockdown was lifted and it resumed business for the evening.
At press time, local authorities had arrested a 24-year-old Detroit man in connection with the incident. The man in custody is a concealed pistol license holder.
The shooting sparked discussions about the mall’s reputation. Many local residents feel the mall has declined in security and maintenance over the years and has since served as a shoplifting hot spot.
Since opening in 1976, Fairlane Town Center has continued to provide revenue for the city of Dearborn, bringing along with it some of the largest U.S. chain retail stores, including JC Penney, Sears, and Macy's.
The mall also includes an AMC movie theater, several prominent restaurants and a food court.
Dearborn residents have frequented the mall less often over the years, heading to malls in Novi, Troy and Auburn Hills instead.
In recent years, the mall has especially served as a place of employment and shopping spot for Detroit residents, as it’s conveniently located off of Southfield freeway and serves as the closest metropolitan mall in proximity to the city.
Arab American business owners still hold a heavy presence at the mall. Local resident Ali A. Baydoun said on social media that residents shouldn’t be scared to visit the mall as shoplifting and shootings have occurred at malls across the state.
"Shoppers shouldn't be discouraged from patronizing Fairlane," he said. "Dearborn police have excellent response time and it is generally a very safe atmosphere. Shoplifting isn't exclusive to Fairlane."