Malls across coun­try evac­u­ated af­ter post-hol­i­day fights break out

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

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.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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.

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