This is a developing story.
Several people reportedly were injured this afternoon when fireworks exploded in Hamilton Place mall, resulting in a panic, police said.
"Our investigation concluded that it was perpetrated a group of individuals who were setting off fireworks, possibly to cover-up the actions of a shoplifting crime," Chattanooga Police Department spokesman Rob Simmons said in an released statement. "We have had reports of injuries due to their negligence."
Hamilton County Emergency Medical Service ambulance crews treated people injured when they were pushed down in the rush to escape the mall, Simmons said.
Police have descriptions of the perpetrators and are following up on potential leads and reviewing video footage in efforts to apprehend them, Simmons said. Officers remained in the Hamilton Place Mall area this evening to maintain safety and the security of the complex.
Anyone with information on the identities of the perpetrators is urged to contact the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-2525.
Stay with the Times Free Press as more information becomes available.