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Former Secret Service Agent Talks Mall Security In Wake Of Scares

FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Police in Nashville, Tennessee raced toward the Opry Mills Mall Thursday, as customers fled gunfire.

A 22-year-old man ended a fight with another by fatally shooting him in the mall and then gave up his weapon and surrendered, saying he didn't want any more trouble, police said.

That incident came one day after newly released affidavits detailed a foiled terror plot against the Stonebriar Centre in Frisco.

"It's the biggest attraction in my city," 17-year-old Matin Azizi allegedly told an undercover agent, detailing plans to murder patrons and set stores on fire.

Matin Azizi-Yarand
Matin Azizi-Yarand (credit: Plano Police Department)

The recent incidents have brought attention to the draw of shopping centers for mass shooters and terrorists looking to access large crowds.

"When they hit someplace that mothers and fathers and children and grandparents go everyday of their lives... it's trying to change us to live our lifestyles differently," said Mark Lowery, of Lowery & Associates Security Consulting.

The former Secret Service agent says mall owners and retailers want to maintain a welcoming environment, so security measures may be more gentle.

"You'll see security guards, you'll see more and more police officers. It's common place to have security cameras, guaranteed you they have a monitoring station," he said.

He recommends malls use plain clothes security, as well, to look for signs of future attack, such as someone scouting a location.

Police say Azizi took pictures of Stonebriar Centre's layout and its security officers.

Retail workers and even customers, he said, should also feel comfortable reporting suspicious behavior, know how to report it, and feel confident the information will be appropriately handled.

"Develop a culture or a program where they can pass that information," said Lowery.

While precautions are important, though, he stresses there's still little risk to most shoppers.

"The chances of becoming involved in an active shooting incident is very low," he said.

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