The day after Christmas was chaotic for shoppers at malls across the country as a series of fights led to evacuations, several arrests, and plenty of panic, reported Fox News.
Was the mall madness coincidence or sparked by social media? The massive disruptions occurred in Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, Colorado, and Texas.
Police in Ohio Monday deployed pepper spray to disperse a large crowd after a fight at an upscale shopping mall in Beachwood, a Cleveland suburb. They told Fox 19 the skirmish appeared to have been organized in part on social media.
A call of “shots fired” brought officers to the mall initially, but police later confirmed that to be false. Needless to say the proposal of such action brought a heightened state of awareness and response. They said they took a juvenile into custody for assaulting a police officer.
In Elizabeth, N.J., a fight sparked panic inside the Mills at Jersey Gardens after witnesses reported they heard a gunshot. As it turned out, it was just a thrown chair, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said. Two people were hurt in the panic, Fox 5 reported.
Meanwhile, in Connecticut law enforcement authorities arrested several people after they said fights broke out at The Shoppes at Buckland Hills mall.
Several hundred teenagers were in the mall at the time, Manchester police Capt. Chris Davis tweeted. Officers evacuated the mall to assess and restore order. Fortunately, there were no immediate reports of any serious injuries.
In North Carolina, police and EMS rushed to Fayetteville’s Cross Creek Mall after reports of a fight there. Lt. Todd Joyce said police were reviewing mall security video to see if charges were warranted.
Police outside Denver evacuated the Town Center at Aurora after reporting a “large disturbance.” While the melee appeared to cause quite a disturbance, they said there were no reports of injury.
Fort Worth Police say they went to the Hulen Mall Monday night on a shots fired call.
When they arrived, they found no evidence of a shooting. What they found instead were massive melees, breaking out one after the other inside the mall. Police say between 100 and 150 teenagers were fighting each other in the food court, reported WFAA.
Dozens of police officers, including SWAT, SRT and the gang unit, helped subdue the brawls, which kept breaking out. Police were eventually asked by management to help them shut the mall down. There were no reports of injuries, and four teens were cited for fighting.
Malls and shopping centers across the U.S. expected big crowds since Monday was a holiday for many companies and government organizations, the same day that post-Christmas sales began.