A group of more than 1,000 teens shut down a mall in Louisville, Kentucky, and police say the teens caused widespread chaos by loitering, fighting and refusing to leave businesses. According to a report from ABC News regarding the incident, the Mall St. Matthews closed early Saturday night due to the out-of-control teens. The mall reopened at 11 a.m. the following day.
Brawls close Kentucky mall https://t.co/FKi6qmbeFy— Think Smarter (@ProudlyLiberal2) December 27, 2015
Authorities estimate that at as many as 2,000 teens participated in the numerous brawls that took place in Mall St. Matthews, which is one of the state’s largest malls. Not only did the unruly teens force the closure of the entire mall, several nearby businesses were shut down as well.
The chaos started around 7 p.m. and lasted for several hours, a police spokesman said. St. Matthews police officers assigned to the mall received multiple reports of disturbances in the area, Officer Dennis McDonald explained to news outlets.
“As they were responding to those disturbances, others were breaking out. … Disturbances started to feed on themselves.” McDonald explained. “They were just overwhelmed with a number of calls for service and reports of disorder.”
2,000 people brawl and shut down Kentucky mall https://t.co/bwxtWR1wfz— TIME.com (@TIME) December 27, 2015
The response to the chaos was tremendous and dozens of officers from several agencies had to be called to the scene. McDonald said the entire mall was affected and he described the scene as being a “series of brawls” involving 1,000 to 2,000 people ages 13 to their early 20s.
MSNBC reports that about an hour after the chaos erupted, police began to advise stores in the mall to close their doors. However, many teens still refused to leave and continued to engage in fights.
“Businesses were in the process of closing their doors, steel grates, and you had juveniles that were not allowing businesses to close up — [they were] climbing on the grates,” McDonald was quoted as saying. “This was a riot…It was crazy.”
Police also received reports of gunfire in the area, but investigators haven’t confirmed those reports as of yet. Although no one was seriously injured, several minor injuries were reported from people who had been pushed down or shoved during the incident.
There were more officers at the mall than usual when it reopened for business on Sunday. As of the time of this writing, there have been no further reports of problems at the shopping center.
Police planned to meet soon with mall management to discuss ways to prevent a recurrence of the unruly behavior, McDonald told the Associated Press.
“It’s private property,” he said. “Maybe there are some rules that they can put into place. “We’ll be working with mall management and mall security to see if they can come up with any policies… to curb this kind of behavior in the future.”
One suggestion by police was a possible policy requiring juveniles under a certain age to be accompanied by a parent when at the mall. A spokesperson for the mall said Sunday that the business was not yet ready to comment on the disturbances.
Mall St. Mathews is the first enclosed suburban shopping mall in the state of Kentucky and it reportedly has over 100 stores and is one of the largest malls in Kentucky.
This latest incident follows a brawl that happened at the mall last month during the Black Friday shopping sales. According to Fox News, two shoppers were responsible for the Black Friday madness, and the men threw punches and wrestled each other to the ground in the middle of the crowded shopping mall before police were able to break them up.
[Image via Bruno Vincent/Getty Images News]