Malls across America descended into chaos and violence on Monday as bargain-hungry shoppers engaged in mass brawls, fought in food courts and – in one instance – led to a SWAT team being deployed.
Fights were reported across the country, with instances at malls in Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, Ohio, Connecticut and New York. Many saw fights taking place in food courts, and incorrect reports of gunfire. Many involved teens or juveniles.
From The DailyMail
One incident, at The Mills in Jersey Gardens, New Jersey, saw 48,000 people fleeing after a fight culminated in a loud bang and a person shouting ‘shots fired’ at around 5pm.
Video shows corridors packed with panicking customers trying to escape the mall as heavily armed police in body armor arrive at the scene to sweep the area for suspects, Pix11 reported.
Video shows cops with riot shields and assault rifles heading into the mall, while staff tell customers to get back from windows.
In one video, a man is heard should that there is a ‘gun over there’, although no weapons were found. The sound of a gunshot was actually a chair being thrown, police later said.
The fleeing shoppers snarled up traffic outside the building, delaying NJ transit buses to the mall by up to an hour.
Eight people were injured in the fight and subsequent stampede, but no one was arrested. The mall will reopen Tuesday.
In Aurora, Illinois, the Fox Valley Mall was evacuated when several fights broke out between customers.
Footage shows security guards struggling to separate dozens of people – apparently youths – near a food court.
They are surrounded by a large ring of spectators – which according to police numbered as many as 1,000 people. In the end 75 police officers were deployed and seven juveniles arrested.
‘I’m still a little shaken up. I’ve never seen that many people inside brawling like that,’ mall worker Alexis Malone, who was working inside the mall, told ABC 7 Chicago.
In another video groups of youths run down an ‘up’ escalator, though whether they are rushing to or from a fight is unclear.
According to ABC 7, the mall had to be closed until Tuesday morning. The reason for the fight was ‘unclear’, it said. Its not known how many people were hurt.
An another Aurora – Colorado – the Aurora Mall was closed and evacuated after several large fights ‘involving juveniles’, according to police.
No customers or officers were hurt, but one Twitter users accused police of using excessive force, dragging a girl by her hair and tackling harmless youths.
‘The kids were talking to the mall cops about a friend,’ said Lala Muniz. ‘and next thing you know 9-10 aurora police come running outside from the mall and…’
Her statement broke off there, but later she tweeted: ‘Stop saying the kids were in the mall fighting, stop saying the kids were shooting because it’s all bs.
‘[It was] the teens that the police attacked.’
In Beechwood, Ohio, a juvenile was arrested for hitting a police officer after police used pepper spray to break up a fight that started about 6:30pm near a food court.
Crowds were seen falling over themselves in a stampede towards the exits at the Beechwood Place mall, which went into lockdown as police investigated.
Officers initially responded to the scene for a report of shots fired. Police later confirmed that there were no gunshots.
Fire officials say a man and a police officer were exposed to the pepper spray and received medical treatment. No one else was injured.
John Boyd, the 19-year-old who was hit with pepper spray, described the sensation to Cleveland.com.
‘My face burned… it went into my skin,’ Boyd said. ‘My whole body burned.’
It wasn’t clear what caused the fight, but police told USA Today that the incident had apparently been ‘loosely organized on social media’.
In Tempe, Arizona, shots were reported fired at Arizona Mills Mall, which was put on lockdown.
Fights broke out in the food court and outside Legoland, according to ABC 15, and loud noises that were believed to be gunfire led to crowds running for exits. Police confirmed no shots had been fired.
Two were arrested, one a juvenile, police said.
Read Full Story At The DailyMail