Suspicious package at mall causes evacuations, detonation

Police investigate a suspicious package left at the Pierre Bossier Mall Wednesday afternoon. The package was detonated and a JC Penney store was evacuated as a precaution. (photo courtesy of Tracy McGill)

A suitcase found outside of a Bossier City mall Wednesday afternoon led to the evacuation of a major store before it was disposed of by authorities.

According to Bossier City Police Public Information Officer Mark Natale, a suitcase was found outside the J.C. Penney store at Pierre Bossier Mall.

The Bossier City bomb squad detonated the suitcase, causing a loud explosion which witnesses say shook the walls of nearby businesses.

The suitcase caused the store to be evacuated and the west end area of the parking lot taped off. The mall itself remained open, however.

Witnesses reported a flatbed trailer was being unloaded when a black male in all black clothes and red shoes left the suitcase on the trailer and walked away.

Natale said the employees moved the suitcase to the north side of J.C. Penney and notified security.

He also said police inspected the case and found what appeared to be a pot or pressure cooker, at which point the bomb squad was called in.

A multitude of agencies responded alongside the police, including the Bossier City Fire Department, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, ATF, Bossier City Marshal’s office, and the FBI.