UPDATE: Authorities Investigating Suspicious Suitcase at Local Mall
UPDATE: Residents can breathe a sigh of relief, now that the Bossier City Fire Department Bomb Squad has detonated a suitcase found outside Pierre Bossier Mall, and no explosives were inside.
City spokesman Mark Natale told KEEL News mall security called police after employees saw a man, described only as a black male wearing all black clothes and red shoes, leave the suitcase on a trailer and walk away. An officer went up to the case and found inside what appeared to be a pressure cooker or crock pot.
Natale said given the events at the Boston Marathon, authorities weren't going to take any chances.
"We called in the bomb squad, they came in, disrupted both devices, and it was determined there were no explosives involved in this situation," Natale said. "As a precaution, the police department evacuated J.C. Penney while this was being dealt with, and also kept folks away from the west end of the mall."
Police continue to search for the man who left the suitcase. If you have any information that can help, call Bossier Crime Stoppers at 424-4100.
Take a look at photos from the incident:
ORIGINAL STORY: Authorities are investigating a suspicious suitcase left outside J.C. Penney at Pierre Bossier Mall.
As I was chatting with Brandon Michael with the Morning Madhouse on K94.5, who has been living in a box outside the mall to collect toys for Operation Santa Claus, he reported hearing an explosion.
He said everything happened rather quickly. First, Bossier City police and sheriff's deputies showed up, along with the fire department's bomb squad. They evacuated the mall, then the parking lot.
"I don't know that I've ever seen this many police and fire rescue units in one spot at one time ever in my life," Brandon said. "The north side of J.C. Penney's seems to be where all the action is."
We'll bring you more details on this developing story as we get them.