When a shooting takes place at a mall, it frequently makes national news. On Thursday, as the nation watched what was happening in Menlo Park, California, many people pondered what had happened and what the repercussions would be. Police were called to shots fired at the Del Monte shopping center in the early hours of March 18, 1978. According to reports, two males entered the mall and started shooting at a jewelry store. They held two women captive in a food court while they fled the area. Yet, a large number of individuals were present inside the mall when the incident occurred. Fortunately, no one was shot to death or gravely maimed, but the ensuing turmoil resulted in multiple injuries.
After the shooting, the Del Monte mall was shut down, and it remained thus for the rest of the day. Police officers kept watch at the mall’s entrances while looking for suspects and hostages. In order to protect those driving on the ground level from the rubble from a shooting jewelry store, many police cars also closed off an underground parking lot. The captives reportedly took cover from the shooters in a food court. A police officer who was on duty outside during the shooting subsequently described seeing several terrified people running from the mall. This shows that whoever had started the commotion hadn’t also intended to spark a real riot. They may have instead only wanted to stir up trouble so they could get away with their hostages unscathed.
When Menlo Park police officers approached the food court, they discovered three dead hostages and one wounded member of their own team. Before capturing the hostages, the gunmen reportedly fired into the air to avoid immediately harming the victims. While gunshots whizzed above their heads, the women reportedly huddled under tables or in other areas. Then, after getting his weapon from his hostage, one of the shooters reportedly went back to his car and took his shotgun from behind the seats. Then, while looking for his getaway car, he kept the entire crowd hostage. When he failed to locate one, he exchanged his hostages for a getaway car and took off on his own. He later shot and killed a police officer, but he and his still-living accomplice were able to flee when their getaway car ran out of gas, avoiding detection.
A shooting at Menlo Park Mall not only makes international headlines, but it also serves as a warning to today’s kids about how hazardous it can be while hostages are being held. The 1978 Menlo Park Mall Shooting by Adam Chenoweth, available on freetofl, gives a great account of this tragic incident as well as a number of other well-known mall shootings throughout the years. Anyone interested in learning more about this renowned event can read it.
A two-story super-regional mall called Menlo Park Mall may be found in Edison, New Jersey, not far from Parsonage Road and US Route 1. The mall’s gross floor area is 1,332,132 square feet in total (123,759.1 square meters). Simon Property Group now owns and operates Menlo Park Mall. Macy’s and Nordstrom are the two biggest competitors. Barnes & Noble Booksellers and AMC Dine-In Menlo Park 12 are two other tenants.
As an outdoor complex, the Menlo Park Mall debuted in September 1959. Developers Abraham and Sigmund Sommer of Iselin, New Jersey, were responsible for its development and design.  It is named after Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park neighborhood, where he also had a laboratory. The building is entirely shut.