Except the "robber" was a fellow officer acting as a shooter and the "cops", armed with air pellet guns, were actually taking part in a police training drill -- the 10th annual active shooter program held by the Hobart Police Department.
"This is the biggest shopping mall in Northwest Indiana, so we want to keep up our skills and be prepared for anything that happens," said Lt. Greg Viator, the patrol commander who led the event.
The fake hostage and shooting scenarios are supposed to train mall security to be able to provide the most vital information to outside officers and SWAT team members.
"You can't wait for backup," said Officer Timothy Pochran, one of the three active shooting instructors. "The more time you wait, the more people get hurt."
"If Chicago gets the Olympics, being that we're so close, this could be a target point for a possible terrorist attack because of the amount of people who visit the mall," Pochran added.