It happened at Oak View Mall in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday while parents and children were enjoying the Monster Mash Bash in the lead up to Halloween. A woman spotted a man dressed all in black, with a hood, and carrying a duffel bag and rifle. She took a photo of the man and notified security, but before they arrived on the scene the man left. After the image went viral, the man got in touch, saying it was a misunderstanding.

Family decided it was too scary to stay at the mall

Desirae Anson was at the event with her son, friends, and family, and told KETV that the mall was packed and there were children everywhere. At first everyone was having fun at the Halloween event, but she said things turned scary for her and her family.

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As they arrived, family members who were waiting for them said they should probably leave and she said she was confused. However, they showed her the image that had been taken of the man in the black costume. Anson said from the photo, it looked like he was holding a real gun. She said with the way things are these days, anything could have happened so it was better to be safe than sorry, and they left the mall.

Anson posted the image of the #costumed man on Facebook, leading to it receiving almost 800 reactions and hundreds of comments. KETV reports that the reaction was so big, even the man in costume himself saw the post.

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Costumed man comes forward, said it was a mistake

Hugo Mendoza came forward about the image and his costume, saying it was inspired by the 2010 movie, “The Town.” He said he was at the event with his girlfriend and his daughters and didn’t mean to offend anyone by wearing the costume. Mendoza went on to say he didn’t put anybody’s life in danger and didn’t point the gun at anyone or scare any children. He added that security didn’t approach him and no one else seemed to react to his costume.

Mendoza did say he understood where they were coming from with their concern, but said that at the same time it was just a costume, adding that they sell the costume for a reason. He went on to say the film was about a group who dressed as nuns and robbed a bank. He also added that the toy gun did have an orange tip, but that this was not visible in the photo that was shared online.

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The New York Post reports that a spokesperson for the shopping mall did confirm security got involved that night, but said they believed the costumed man had already left the mall at that stage. Anson confirmed that she had showed the image to employees at a shop in the mall who she thinks may have contacted security. She said she thinks the mall acted appropriately, as they saw around 15 security guards actively looking around the mall. #Omaha Nebraska