Deputies detain four at mall after brief foot pursuit

More than a dozen SCV Sheriff's deputies led on brief foot pursuit after reports of armed person at the mall on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies conducted a foot pursuit Friday afternoon at the Westfield Valencia Town Center after receiving reports of an armed person. 

The incident took place just before 2:30 p.m. at the mall after “someone had called the station and reported that they were in the mall parking lot and saw two males and two females and thought that the male was putting a firearm in their waistband before going into the mall,” said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s station. 

One weapon was retrieved from nearby bushes that were left by one of the suspects, said Miller. 

The four suspects were detained, she said, adding that one of the suspects was on parole for robbery. 

The call resulted in a large deputy response, with more than a dozen deputies on the scene, that led to a foot pursuit. Deputies then found the suspects who met the description provided, according to Miller. 

“If you see police activity at Westfield Valencia mall, the area is safe. All suspects we were looking for are in custody,” read an SCV Sheriff’s Station Tweet. 

Jennifer Denicola, an app food delivery driver, said she was coming into the Westfield food court when sheriff’s deputy vehicles and a helicopter began swooping onto the scene.

“I was right here parking and this detective runs like crazy … it reminds me of a school shooting,” said Denicola. “What the heck is going on? This is Valentine’s Day.”

Denicola was approached by an employee of the Westfield Valencia Town Center. When she asked if she was safe, the employee said that everyone was safe and that she could still enter the mall.

Even after four individuals were placed into custody, detectives and several deputies remained in the area to speak with witnesses at the mall. 

Deputies collect evidence from a vehicle parked outside of JC Penny following a foot pursuit of a suspect who was allegedly armed. February 14, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

No injuries were reported and the mall is expected to continue its regular operations. 

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