Sarasota police say a man who tossed an object into a store at a mall on Tuesday, triggering a hazardous materials investigation, was trying to spread his fiancee’s ashes in the store.
On Wednesday, the man was still mourning the loss of his fiancee, who died several months ago and had a connection to the LensCrafters at Westfield Southgate mall, so decided to spread her ashes at the mall, Lt. Pat Ledwith said.
About 11:20 a.m. Tuesday, the man, whom police are not identifying, spread part of the ashes at the LensCrafters, triggering an emergency response.
Officials closed the mall, not allowing people in or out during the investigation.
The mall, at 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, was reopened about 1:45 p.m.
“He did not realize the commotion he would cause,” Ledwith said, adding the man didn’t see any media reports or know about the investigation until he was contacted by police.
Ledwith said the man was “very apologetic” and had “no malicious intent.” Police have offered him grief counseling though its victim advocacy program.
There is security video of the man sprinkling the ashes on the floor through the mall, Ledwith said.
No charges are expected, Ledwith said.