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Shots Ring Out On The Third Street Promenade And Shoppers, Tourists Go Into Panic Mode

SANTA MONICA (CBSLA)  -- When shots rang out Friday on the Third Street Promenade it caused shoppers, tourists and even security experts to pause.

Some panicked, others ran.

A security guard shot a man with a knife that was suspected of trying to rob a Brink's armored truck.

But many people didn't know that -- and with a series of mass shootings -- at malls, at a garlic festival, outside a bar -- people are feeling no place is immune.

Or safe.

CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Laurie Perez says things have returned to normal at the Promenade  but many streets remained cordoned off into the early evening.

Several people were recording video with their cellphones just before the shots could be heard. The stunned look on one woman's face -- while silent -- spoke volumes.

Many rushed for cover. Among those, CBS2/KCAL9 video journalist Julie Sharp.

"Everybody was basically hiding under tables, behind counters, and there was a lot of fear," Sharp says.

Dan Wentzel hid in a nearby tea shop.

"All of a sudden, we heard like these gunshots and then people like running for their lives," Wentzel says.

Perez spoke to him via FaceTime. He acknowledges the rash of mass shootings already had him a bit on edge.

"This happens now so regularly that we're just, you know, immediately, it's like oh God, okay, cause literally it could happen anywhere. We have those kind of thoughts now like if we're in a movie theater like what happened in Colorado, or if we're in you know if you're in a school, if you're wherever, I don't like that that's part of our day to day life," Wentzel says.

It was the same in Times Square a few weeks ago when the sound of a motorcycle backfiring had people fleeing what they thought were gun shots.

Robert Ewings works security for a restaurant that is just yards from where today's shots were fires. The recent mass shootings have him scanning crowds, personally and professionally.

"It's kinda scary, you know security is in high demand everywhere now. It puts you on alert especially a place like this Santa Monica, the promenade. It's all wide open, so many people out here, all the things that's going on in the world, you just never know what might happen," Ewings says.

Perez also spoke with managers at two businesses who said their employees are trained to respond to active shooter situations -- when people ran into their stores to hide, workers locked the doors as they are trained to do.

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