Mall shooting
A Houston Police Department investigator photographs a vehicle that received gunshot damage at a scene where nine were wounded in a strip mall shooting in Houston, Texas, Sep. 26, 2016. Bob Levey/Getty Images

An off-duty police officer shot and injured a man who pulled an imitation gun on the officer at the Parks Mall at Arlington, Texas, on Sunday afternoon. The police officer was responding to a theft report at around 4.30 p.m. EST at Sunglass Hut in the mall at 3800 block of South Cooper Street, near Interstate 20.

Arlington Police Department's Lt. Christopher Cook said the theft suspect ran near the food court on the second floor of the mall and pulled out what was later discovered to be an imitation weapon. The police officer shot the man thinking the gun was a real one, Dallas News reported. The suspect was taken to a local hospital. By Sunday evening, the authorities had not revealed any information about the suspect. The name of the police officer who shot the suspect was also not revealed. No other injuries were reported.

Cook also stressed that the situation could have been worse. According to the police, regardless of the reports on social media, the event was not treated as an active shooter situation.

According to a report by KXAS-TV, a NBC-affiliated news station based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Cook said, “This happened when the mall was extremely busy.” He added, “You saw a lot of people that were upset, crying, kids misplaced from their parents, people sheltering in place, because you don't know nowadays.”

The Parks Mall was scheduled to close down at 6 p.m. on Sunday. People were evacuated from the mall early as the police authorities had to get on with their crime scene investigation.

The Arlington Police even tweeted saying that the “incident is under control” and also cautioned the people to “avoid the area.”

Will Johnson, Chief of the Arlington Police Department posted tweets which showed the suspect pulling out the imitation gun and pointing it at the police in the mall. He also went on to state as to how difficult it was for the police authorities to distinguish between a real and a fake gun.

In this third tweet he posted a picture of the imitation gun and wrote that there is "no training" which can help the police officers to distinguish between a real and a fake gun.

Cook also said there have been numerous incidents involved the usage of replica weapons which looked real.

He said, "Officers cannot make a distinction between the two, especially… in a split second decision.” He then added, “You have an officer trying to detain an individual for a legitimate offense... and then he makes a decision to pull an imitation firearm out. You can't do that. You'll get this type of response.”

Some Twitter users also recorded what was happening inside Parks Mall during the time of the incident. One video showed people looking for places to hide.

Another Twitter user posted a video saying he saw the suspect getting shot, which is not seen in the video. It shows a police officer on the staircase while the suspect is lying down on the ground in front of him.