Los Angeles police have arrested a Missouri man they say caused a panic at a mall last week.

Police say officers at Venice Beach recognized 25-year-old Nicholas K. Oates around 8 p.m. Saturday and took him into custody.

The panic occurred Friday when a man entered a store at Westfield Century City mall, took books from shelves and began to ignite them.

Police say an employee attempted to stop the man but he pulled a handgun, causing the employee to evacuate the store.

People fled the mall, and social media was flooded with erroneous reports of an active shooter.

A car left at the mall led police to identify Oates, who was held for investigation of arson and assault with a deadly weapon.

It’s unclear if he has an attorney.

Associated Press

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