San Francisco police are hunting for a teen girl suspect today, after she went into an area mall and discharged pepper spray, injuring 16 patrons.
San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Giselle Talkoff says that calls reporting the incident started rolling in at 8:06 p.m. Monday, with "Multiple people complaining of an unknown mass pepper spray or 'chemical spray' being released in [the] air" at a store at the Stonestown Mall, located on the 3200 block of 20th Avenue.
Police say that the suspect, a girl aged 15-17, walked into a store in the mall, then "took out a canister and sprayed an orange-colored mist in the store."
According to CBS 5, SFPD Captain Mark Osuna "said a female juvenile went into a Forever 21 store at the mall and sprayed pepper spray into the air and at 'nobody specifically.'"
San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Jonathan Baxter tells the Chron that "The 911 caller reported that it was pepper spray" and that "and officers believe it was either pepper spray or something similar."
After she released the spray, police say the suspect fled on foot. According to CBS 5, she "was followed by other juveniles" who Osuna says "she may or may not have known" out of the store.
Sixteen people in the area of the spray began coughing and experienced "eye irritation," police say. Of those, 13 were treated at the scene, and three were transported to the hospital. All are expected to survive, according to the SFPD.
NBC Bay Area reports that the mall was not evacuated as a result of the spraying, but some stores closed during the incident.
As of Tuesday morning, police say that the pepper-spraying teen remains at large, and no arrests have been made in the case.