Idiot wears ‘ISIS’ Halloween costume with toy rifle in packed mall
Idiot wears ‘ISIS’ Halloween costume with toy rifle in packed mall

A man wearing what some believed was an ISIS-inspired Halloween costume, complete with a toy rifle, sparked panic in a Nebraska mall on Friday — though he insists it was all a misunderstanding.

During the Oak View Mall’s Monster Mash Bash in Omaha, parents and children were terrified to see a man donning a black hooded robe while holding a duffel bag and a black rifle.

A woman who spotted him and snapped a picture notified security, but the costumed man disappeared before they arrived on the scene, KETV reported.

After the photo went viral online, the man came forward and claimed he was actually wearing an outfit inspired by the 2010 film, “The Town.”

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“I didn’t put nobody’s life in jeopardy, nor did I point the gun, nor did I scare little kids,” said Hugo Mendoza, who was at the event with his two daughters and girlfriend.

While the costume induced panic at the event, Mendoza said he did not mean to offend anyone nor was he approached by security or any nervous guests.

“I understand where they’re coming from, but at the same time it’s whatever because, I mean, it’s a costume,” Mendoza said. “They sell it for a reason.”

From KETV:

A photo taken at Oak View Mall’s Monster Mash Bash event Friday has gone viral online, many calling it offensive. The photo shows a man wearing an all black costume, holding a duffle bag and gun.

“It was a packed place, there were kids everywhere,” parent Desirae Anson said.

Anson was with her son, family and friends at the mall’s event Friday. She said it was a fun-filled night until it turned a little too scary for her and the people she was with.

“My family that was waiting for us said, ‘You know, we should probably go,’ and I was confused.”

Anson’s family showed her a photo they had just taken while she had been away from them. The photo showed the man in the all black costume. Anson said it appeared he could be holding a real gun, noting there was no orange tip visible.

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“Anything really could have happened,” Anson said. “So, it’s better to be safe than sorry in that kind of situation.”

After leaving the mall, Anson posted the picture in a group on Facebook. It got nearly 800 reactions and more than 500 comments — a response so big it even got back to the man in the costume.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” said Hugo Mendoza.

Mendoza said he went to the mall’s event with his two daughters and girlfriend, dressed in a costume inspired by a movie called “The Town.”

“People dressed up as nuns,” said Mendoza. “They rob a bank and a stadium.”

Mendoza said his costume wasn’t meant to offend anyone, and security never asked him to leave. He also said his gun did have an orange tip, but is not visible in the photo that went viral online.

“I didn’t put nobody’s life in jeopardy, nor did I point the gun, nor did I scare little kids,” said Mendoza.

Still, Anson and many online call his costume insensitive in light of recent shootings.

“it’s just not the time or the place,” Anson said. “Not with everything that’s been going on. Not with a kids event.”

“I understand where they’re coming from, but at the same time it’s whatever because, I mean, it’s a costume,” Mendoza said. “They sell it for a reason.”

A spokesperson with GGP, the retail real estate company that owns Oak View Mall, said the company takes these concerns very seriously and the costume in the viral photo is a violation of GGP’s code of conduct.

On the mall’s website, the code of conduct states any activity that threatens the safety of guests, tenants and/or employees or anything that disrupts the pleasant, family-oriented shopping environment is not allowed.

The spokesperson said security did get involved on Friday night, but she believed Mendoza had already left at that point.

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Anson said she and her family showed the photo to employees at a jewelry store in the mall and she believes they contacted security.

“I think they acted appropriately,” Anson said. “On our way through the mall we saw at least 15 security guards, 10 to 15 actively looking.”

Mendoza said no security personnel every approached him or asked him to leave.

“No one told me nothing about that like, ‘Hey, you got to leave,’ or, ‘Hey that’s inappropriate for kids,’ or, ‘People feel unsafe,'” Mendoza said. “Nothing like that.”

A promotion for the Friday night event at Oak View Mall promoted a partnership with the YMCA and activities including a family-friendly movie, crafts and trick-or-treat bags for the first 500 kids.