SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – An armed male suspect was arrested at Valley Fair Mall Wednesday after San Jose police got a tip from the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office that the suspect was live streaming on Snapchat about "shooting up" a mall.
Officers later identified the suspect as 21-year-old Seaside resident Hunter Tital. He was arrested and charged with several felonies, including possession of an assault rifle and making criminal threats.
The department's media relations Twitter account initially posted about the incident at 5:18 p.m. Wednesday evening. Police subsequently tweeted that the suspect had "a very distinct appearance, including a loud hair color."
"Within 45 minutes of the call the suspect was arrested," said San Jose police spokesperson Officer Steve Aponte. "These officers are heroes; working very diligently and in a safe manner were able to take him into custody without firing one shot or using force."
Aponte said the suspect, whose identity was not immediately released, was livestreaming on the social media platform that he would "shoot up the mall."
His distinctive shoulder length, purple hair would be the key to tracking him down inside Valley Fair by police and mall security.
Police said officers responded to Valley Fair and planned out how to locate and apprehend the suspect while being conscious of public safety at the shopping center. He was taken into custody near the Nordstrom of the second level of the mall without any incident "before he could inflict harm on innocent shoppers," police said.
Aponte said officers discovered a gun on the suspect.
Police cordoned off a section of the parking lot near Macy's where they focused their attention on a compact car.
A San Jose police bomb squad robot was used to search the vehicle, however, it's unknown if anything was found.
Several cars were inside police tape, including Gerry Andreassen's car. She said she arrived at the mall at 3:30 p.m., just a half an hour before the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office called San Jose police about the threat.
"That's scary, that's where I was in, Nordstrom," Andreassen KPIX 5.
Police removed their crime scene tape just before 11 p.m.
Sofia Cisneros, who works at the Cheesecake Factory at Valley Fair, said that she heard the police activity.
"I was just scared, I have kids," Cisneros said. "The fear went away when they said the person got caught."
Police worked with mall security to evacuate some patrons from the mall while making sure not to start a panic during the incident.
Aponte thanked the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office for notifying San Jose police of the potential threat and Santa Clara police, who also responded to the mall and assisted in the investigation.
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