A Philadelphia mall brawl is the latest in a series of violent incidents to have taken place in malls across the country, and in this particular case, the culprits were a group of several hundred rowdy teenagers who planned the violence on social media.
As WPVI (Philadelphia) reports, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said that an estimated 300 to 400 youths all turned up at the Philadelphia Mills Mall at about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. Most of the youths were stopped at the door by mall security; about 30 or 40 managed to get inside.
Next on Action News: 2nd night of mayhem at Philadelphia Mills mall as 100’s of teens converge to cause problems. Live reports at 10 & 11 pic.twitter.com/yJjEtWz7YH
— Dann Cuellar (@DannCuellar) December 28, 2016
“They went to the food court area and that’s when they started running around, yelling and screaming and acting disorderly.”
Mall vendor Anthony Clark, said the teens scattered when police arrived on the scene.
“They were pelting cops with fountain sodas and all kinds of trash. When somebody yelled ‘gun’ last night and the stampede started in our direction, I’m just glad nobody got hurt.”
Meanwhile, outside the mall, the teens who weren’t able to get inside terrorized the parking lot, screaming, kicking cars, and generally menacing patrons.
It took police about two hours to fully restore order to the mall. Two police officers were injured in the brawl; both were punched in the head.
Four juveniles were arrested, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer: two 14-year-olds, a 15-year-old, and a 17-year-old. They face charges of aggravated assault, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct-fighting, and other related crimes.
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) December 28, 2016
Police say the teens orchestrated the mall brawl on social media platform Snapchat and coordinated their arrival times on city buses.
What’s worse, say police, the teens have vowed to continue to return to the mall to cause more mayhem for the remainder of the week. Small says that’s a bad idea since he intends to have an extra police presence stationed in the area until Philadelphia kids are back in school.
“So it wouldn’t make any sense for these juveniles to return because they’re going to be turned away, they’re going to be dispersed immediately.”
The Philadelphia incident is just the latest in a series of violent incidents to break out at malls across the country this week, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Many of them have involved juveniles, and some have involved social media.
In the Denver suburb of Aurora, a fight broke out at the food court of the Town Center Mall. When officers arrived on the scene, rowdy and angry juveniles surrounded the cops, causing them to call for backup from every on-duty officer in the city. Five juveniles were arrested, but police believe as many as 500 people were involved.
In New Jersey, someone yelled “Gun!” and slammed down a chair, causing shoppers and workers inside to panic and stampede for the exits. In the chaos, eight to ten people were injured, including a 12-year-old.
Similar mall violence was reported in Chattanooga, Fayetteville, Indianapolis, New York, Memphis, Fort Worth, and other cities.
Authorities are hesitant to conclude that the incidents of mall violence are related. Sgt. Chris Amsler, the spokesman for the Aurora Police Department in Aurora, Colorado, said that at this time, it’s too early to say one way or the other.
“At this time, we don’t know. At this time, we don’t think it’s related. We just think it’s a coincidence.”
Do you believe the incidents of mall violence this week are all related?
[Featured Image by Radu Bercan/Shutterstock]