Malls across country evacuated after post-holiday fights break out
Fights broke out at malls around the country Monday night sending shoppers, who were looking for post-holiday deals, scrambling for the exits.
No one was seriously injured in the mall melees, which, during the panic, also prompted numerous false reports of gunfire.
In Aurora, Colorado, police evacuated a suburban Denver mall after an arrest led to hundreds of young people converging on the site, with several fights breaking out, authorities said.
Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Amsler said that five juveniles were arrested during the disturbance at the Town Center at Aurora.
The trouble started during the arrest of a person suspected of fighting and an unruly crowd surrounded the scene, the police spokesman said.
“As the officer was attempting to escort the arrestee to the Aurora Police Substation inside of the Town Center, the crowd continued to advance on the officer and several other fights broke out,” Sgt. Amsler said.
Police said they suspect that postings on social media drew more people to the site.
“The crowd grew in size to approximately 500 people [mostly juveniles],” Sgt. Amsler said.
Authorities shut down the mall as dozens of police converged on the scene and worked to restore order.
Sgt. Amsler said fights continued as the crowd moved into the parking lot area.
The charges against the five people arrested included disorderly conduct, obstruction and resisting arrest.
In Ohio, police told Cleveland.com that officers used pepper spray to disperse a large crowd following a fight at an upscale shopping mall in Beachwood, just outside of Cleveland.
A report of shots fired was later determined to be unfounded.
One male juvenile was arrested for allegedly trying to hit an officer during the incident, which police said appeared to have been “loosely organized on social media.”
Meanwhile, police in Virginia said at least three fights broke out amid post-Christmas shopping at Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News.
Off-duty officers working at the mall Monday evening responded to a fight inside and called for assistance, police said. As additional officers arrived, they found three fights: one somewhere inside the mall, a second in the food court and a third in the mall parking lot.
Officers broke up the crowds, and police said there were no reports of injuries or damage and no arrests.
Police said a similar situation occurred on the day after Christmas last year, when several groups of teens fought at the mall.
In Connecticut, state and local police responded to a melee at a shopping mall and arrested several people.
Authorities said fights broke out Monday evening at The Shoppes at Buckland Hills mall in Manchester. There were no immediate reports of any serious injuries.
Manchester police Capt. Chris Davis posted on his Twitter account that several hundred teenagers were in the mall at the time and there were several fights. He said several people were arrested and the mall was evacuated.
Capt. Davis said authorities are still trying to sort out what happened.
There were similar disturbances at malls around the country including in New York, New Jersey and North Carolina, where chaos erupted at a mall in Fayetteville and emergency medical personnel were called in to assist someone who had a medical episode while fleeing.
In Memphis, Tennessee, police arrested several people following fights at two malls there. No one was injured and no gunshots were fired, despite reports indicating otherwise.
“Somebody yelled ‘gun!’ and youths stampeded through the mall,” Deputy Chief Terry Landrum told The Commercial Appeal.
Police officers block off the entrances to the Oak Court Mall on Monday, after several people were arrested following fights at the mall in Memphis, Tennessee.